EuroMillions winner who scooped £45million 'killed gran in crash after taking eyes off road to reach for son's teddy'

A LOTTO winner killed a gran in a Christmas Day crash after taking his eyes off the road to reach a teddy his son dropped, a court heard today.

Matt Topham, who became Britain's youngest EuroMillions jackpot winner after pocketing £45 million in 2012, had been visiting his wife's family before the crash.


Topham took his eyes off the road for "up to three seconds" to reach a teddy his two-year-old son dropped when he crashed his BMW into Mary Rodney, 75, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

The 75-year-old couldn't be saved and died from severe chest injuries following the smash on Christmas Day 2019, jurors were told.

Her husband Rodney, 78, suffered Rodney, 78, with a fractured ankle, ribs and sternum and cracked vertebrae.

The court heard Topham, 31, has admitted causing death by careless driving, but has denied his driving was dangerous.

Opening the case, prosecutor Michael Cranmer-Brown said: "It is accepted the crash was entirely the fault of Mr Topham.

“By his own admission, in interview, for what he estimated was up to three seconds he did not have his eyes on the road – he was not actually looking where he was going.

“As a consequence of not looking where he was going his BMW crossed over onto the other side of he carriageway and collided with Rodney Regler’s Fiesta causing the death of Mrs Regler, who died from chest injuries.”

He added: “The prosecution contends the defendant’s driving was dangerous and fell far below the standard of careful and competent driving.”

CHRISTMAS DAY CRASH

Jurors heard how Topham was travelling back from Rushmoor Country Park with his "upset" son on December 25.

But his "attention was diverted from the road" as he tried to find the toddler's teddy bear, it was said.

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Regler were driving eastbound on the same road, between 30mph and 40mph, at the same time after visiting their son's family for Christmas dinner.

The prosecutor said: “Mr Regler looked up and shouted, ‘for Christ’s sake, he’s on the wrong side of the road’."

By the time Topham turned his attention back to the road his BMW X6 had veered into the other lane leaving the Reglers with no way to avoid him, it was said.

'DISTRACTED'

Mr Cranmer-Brown said: "The defendant was distracted from the road by looking behind him into the footwell for his two-year-old son’s teddy bear.

“His son had dropped it onto the floor and was crying. He wanted it returned to him.

“He tried to find the teddy by trying to put his arm behind him.

“When he was unable to find the teddy bear he took his attention away from the road and looked backwards between the seats.

“Once he found it he passed it to his son and turned his attention back to the road.”

The prosecutor told the court it was dark and there were no street lights at the time of the crash.

He said police examiners found no details of defaults with either car and neither driver failed drink and drugs test at the roadside.

'IT HAPPENED SO QUICKLY'

The jury was read details of Topham’s police interviews where he admitted being at fault, saying: "I turned round to get the teddy and that was my mistake."

In a statement read to the jury, widower Mr Regler said” "Even though it was a 60mph limit I was only doing 35 to 40 mph.

“There was no traffic and we were idly chatting about what we were going to do when we got home.

"It happened so quickly. I wasn't aware of any headlights until they appeared right in front of me.

"I turned sharply to the left towards the verge.

"It all happened so quickly. There were no other vehicles around.

"It’s simple. The other car was on my side of the road and I had no chance to react to avoid a collision."

Topham, of Swinderby, Lincolnshire, denies causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.


 

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