A BLACK Country pensioner who fell asleep at the wheel killing a 56-year-old grandfather in a crash in Kingswinford has apologised for his actions.
Michael Worrall, of Lower Gornal, spoke out after a hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court last Friday at which he pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of Geoffrey Harris, also from Lower Gornal.
Speaking from his home in Withern Way – the 70-year-old said: “I’m so very sorry for what happened, if I could go back and do anything to change it I would.
“I was out for a drive and felt dozy so I stopped but there was nowhere to get a coffee.
“They say if you get tired you should stop and rest or get a coffee. I stopped off and rolled a cigarette and then drove home.
“When it happened I just heard a bang, the airbag went off and I was knocked unconscious.
“When I came round the police were asking if I was okay.
“I thought he was going to be okay as I saw the paramedics working on him and heard them shout ‘I’ve got a pulse’ a couple of times.
“The police said I was doing about 40mph but I didn’t think I was going that fast.
“I haven’t had a good day since it happened, I couldn’t sleep for three months after it happened. I feel so sorry for his family, I’ve never been in trouble before. I’ve never had problems with alcohol and never done drugs.
“They tell me I’m probably going to prison now. At my time in life that’s about my lot I think. I don’t want to hurt anyone more than I already have.”
In court, Mr Worrall admitted falling asleep at the wheel of his car and killing Mr Harris.
Mohammed Hafeez, prosecuting, said Mr Worrall had not slept for a number of nights and went out in his Vauxhall Astra in the early hours of February 27 last year to try to help with the problem.
Mr Hafeez added Worrall was then in collision with a Renault Megane in Stallings Lane, Kingswinford, which caused the death of Mr Harris of Abberley Road, Lower Gornal, Mr Harris, who died in hospital following a cardiac arrest, had recently become a grandfather for the first time after his only daughter Kelly gave birth to a son Jacob.
Worrall pleaded guilty to causing the death of Mr Harris by driving dangerously and was remanded on bail for a pre-sentence report.
The pensioner who spoke only to confirm his identity and to plead to the charge was told by Judge Michael Challinor it was expected he would be sentenced on Friday March 8.
Mr Hafeez described Worrall as a man who suffered from ill-health and said that at the time of the tragedy he was taking medication.
He said: “He took his car out hoping it would assist him in getting to sleep,” and added it was clear he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
The judge imposed an immediate interim disqualification forbidding Worrall from driving.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Harris’ wife, Valerie, said: “Geoff, as he was known to us all, was a loving husband and he had an addictive cheeky personality.
“He was a generous and funny man who was well liked by all his friends and family.
“My daughter Kelly is distraught at losing her father to such a tragic incident and now raising Jacob without a grandfather in his life.”