Death crash driver did not tell police of brain tumour operation, court told

A man accused of causing the death of an 11-year-old boy failed to mention he had been treated for a brain tumour when questioned by police following his arrest, jurors have been told.

Thursday, 15th March 2018, 2:31 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:15 am
Harley Simpson died in hospital on November 4, 2016, after being involved in a collision with Mr Stemlers car

Richard Stemler, 70, of Wishing Tree Road, St Leonards, denies causing death by dangerous driving at Hove Crown Court.

Harley Simpson, 11, of Bulverhythe Road, St Leonards, died in hospital on November 4, 2016, after being involved in a collision with Mr Stemler’s silver Renault Espace, in Bexhill Road, on October 22, 2016.

Jurors have previously been made aware that Mr Stemler underwent treatment for the removal of a brain tumour in May 2016 - four and a half months before the accident - while he was living in Spain.

Police investigate the scene of the crash in which Harley Simpson tragically died. Photo courtesy of Sussex Police.

He was released from hospital on June 6, 2016, before collapsing and losing consciousness for around three minutes three days later, on June 9, 2016, the court was told.

At Hove Crown Court, on Thursday (March 18), jurors were shown transcripts from a police interview conducted with Mr Stemler shortly after his arrest on October 22, 2016.

Edward Hand, prosecuting, took the jury through the transcript.

He said: “The defendant was asked if he had suffered from any illness or injury. He said yes. When asked for more detail, the defendant said he had a hearing problem and an issue with his back for which he wears a brace.

“The defendant was asked if he had seen a doctor. The defendant responded saying yes. When asked what was advised, the defendant said he had been provided with a hearing aid.”

Mr Stemler was also asked whether he had been taking tablets, was suffering from depression, had self-harmed or had been drinking alcohol the night before the accident. Mr Stemler replied ‘no’ to each question, the court was told.

Mr Hand added: “Mr Stemler was also asked if there was anything else police needed to be made aware of. Mr Stemler replied ‘no’.”

Mr Hand said Mr Stemler was interviewed for a second time on December 21, 2016, where he also made no reference to the brain tumour operation.

Jurors were also provided with guidance from section 94 of the Road Traffic Act which outlines the various reasons a driver may need to alert the DVLA of any health risks.

Mr Hand said: “The guidance states that UK licence holders are required to disclose their disability if, A, the relevant disability has not previously been disclosed to the Secretary of State or, B, the patient’s suffering from a relevant disability has become more acute since the licence was granted. The patient must then notify the Secretary of State in writing of the nature of his disability.

“The patient is not required to notify the Secretary of State if the disability is one from which he has not previously suffered, and he has reasonable grounds for believing that the duration of the disability will not extend beyond the period of three months, beginning with the date on which he first becomes aware that he suffers from it.

“The guidance provided following the removal of a benign brain tumour in the UK advises that most drivers should not drive for a period of six months, with this extending to 12 months in some cases.”

Mr Hand closed the prosecution’s case.

The trial continues.

Related stories: