Potters Bar man jailed over hit-and-run

A HIT-AND-RUN driver from Potters Bar, who ploughed into the back of a cyclist, drove over him and then continued on to a photography club meeting, has been jailed.

Michael Elliott, 64, only stopped at the scene hours later that night when he returned home from the club and saw police had closed off the road.

He told an officer at the scene: “I think it’s because of me.”

His victim, Patrice Gougam, a 53-year-old married man, who was a keen cyclist, was left with appalling injuries, from which he has still not recovered.

Mr Gougam suffered a brain injury, he is still assisted by machines and St Albans Crown Court was told on Friday that his prognosis is not good.

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It also emerged during the hearing that retired Elliott, of Willow Way, should not have been driving.

He was being treated for glaucoma and cataracts and his eyesight was poor.

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In court he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to notify the DVLA of his eyesight problems.

Jane Tansley, prosecuting, said the scene of the accident was the Great North Road, between Barnet and Potters Bar.

On the evening of November 12 last year, Elliott set off in his Land Rover to drive to his photographic club in Barnet.

At around 7.15pm that night self-employed tennis coach Mr Gougam was cycling along the road towards his home in Barnet.

Miss Tansley then told how another motorist travelling behind the Land Rover saw the car bounce off the kerb and, at the same time, heard a loud bang.

The motorist was to tell police later: “I saw a person tumbling underneath the Land Rover and it looked like the person was spat out from underneath.”

Miss Tansley said the injured man was shaking and couldn’t speak.

Gavin Irwin, defending, said his client was of good character.

He said his licence had now been withdrawn and, because of the circumstances behind the accident, his insurance had been declared void.

He said Elliott could end up losing his home as a result of civil proceedings being brought against him and the cost of Mr Gougam’s ongoing care.

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder Brook-Smith said it was clear Mr Elliott should have given up driving before the night of the accident.

He jailed him for eight months, disqualified him from driving for three years and nine penalty points were put on his licence.

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