A DRIVER with defective eyesight escaped with a fine after an accidental crash which claimed the life of a young man.

Liam Morrissey was driving along Somnes Avenue on Canvey in the early hours of November 24, 2019 when his Vauxhall Astra struck Conor Wells.

Conor, 20, had been walking home from a night out before the crash at 4.15am – and tragically died from his injuries.

Morrissey, 38, of Munsterburg Road, Canvey, stopped at the scene and phoned 999 after doing a three point turn and placing his car in front of Conor to block any other traffic.

He was arrested at the scene for various driving offences, and later the same day, failed an eyesight test by police where he could not read a number plate from 20 metres away.

Morrissey was charged with driving with defective eyesight, and appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard that following the police’s investigation, the crash had been ruled as an accident, and that Morrissey could not have prevented his car hitting Conor. He was not prosecuted for any offences relating to his death. 

READ MORE: Heartbroken family say they have ‘no justice’ after son, 20, killed in crash

Judge Samantha Cohen said that Morrissey had held a heavy goods vehicle driving licence since the age of 21.

She said: “On November 24, 2019, he was driving to work in a private car.

“It was just after 4am with no street lighting.

“A young man, Conor Wells, stepped into his path. He was unable to react and he struck him and he very sadly died at the scene. His parents have sympathy from all those present for their loss.

“Immediately after the accident he manoeuvred his car and blocked traffic to prevent further injuries. He called 999.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Conor on the night of his deathConor on the night of his death

Conor Wells pictured on a night out just hours before he died

Judge Cohen said the resulting police investigation had been “exhaustive” and had concluded the crash could not have been avoided.

The charge of driving with defective eyesight carries a mandatory three point penalty on the defendant’s driving licence.

However, Morrissey made an application for “special reasons” for him not to receive the points.

The court heard that Morrissey worked as a professional driver which required him to have eyesight tests every six months.

Alan Wheetman, representing Morrissey, told the court he had an eye test on October 25 from the company he worked for, which he had passed.

Mr Wheetman said Morrissey had no reason to believe in the following month that his eyesight had deteriorated and was not aware of the defect at the time of driving.

Reading from a report prepared by a prosecution expert, Mr Wheetman said: “It’s possible he could have been borderline when he took the test in October 2019 and then borderline when he took the test again in November 2019.”

Eloise Churchill, prosecuting, argued that Morrissey should not have just relied on the company’s tests and should have also sought his own regular eye tests, and said he should still have the points imposed on his licence.

However, Judge Cohen said she was satisfied that there were special reasons to be allowed in this case, and chose not to impose any points on Morrissey’s licence.

The judge gave Morrissey a £200 fine, and ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £50 and a £32 victim surcharge, totalling £282.