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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Driver fined over toddler's death
Rhys Hood
The toddler died in a car park at the North Terminal
A driver who ran over and killed a three-year-old boy in a car park at Gatwick Airport was found guilty of careless driving by Sussex magistrates.

Albert Marchment, 62, panicked and hit the accelerator instead of the brake when Rhys Hood from Trecastle, Powys, stepped into his path.

He said he was not used to driving his wife's automatic car in May 2004.

Marchment, of South Ockenden, Essex, was fined 700, ordered to pay 365 in costs and given a year's driving ban.

He always denied the charges against him.

But District Judge Paul Tain said he was "unequivocally certain" that Marchment's driving had fallen below the required standard when his foot slipped onto the wrong pedal.

He also said that the position he adopted and the speed of his driving - 8 or 9mph in 5mph zone - were also contributing factors to his verdict.

Albert Marchment
Mr Marchment said he rarely drove his wife's automatic car

The judge said the sentence handed down "bore no relation" to the loss suffered by Rhys' family.

The court heard that Marchment, a self-employed van driver, could stand to lose his family home if his main means of employment was removed.

Members of Rhys' family were at Mid Sussex Magistrates' Court in Haywards Heath to hear how Marchment's car collided with the youngster at the airport's North Terminal on 22 May.

Rhys had travelled with his father from their family home in Wales to see his grandparents off on holiday.

But the trial heard the excited youngster stepped out from behind a row of parked cars into the path of the Ford Mondeo, which Marchment admitted he only drove "once in a blue moon".

'Extra vigilant'

Rhys was dragged along before falling to the ground and being run over.

He suffered multiple injuries from which he died later the same day in hospital.

Outside the court, Rhys' grandfather David Hood, from Herefordshire, thanked friends and well-wishers who "had made the last 15 months bearable after Rhys' death".

Sgt Paul Williams, of Sussex Police, said the case was a reminder that people should be extra vigilant when travelling in unfamiliar locations and when driving unfamiliar vehicles.

"The events surrounding this incident are nothing less than tragic and our thoughts go out to the families of all those involved who have no doubt been devastated by its consequences," he added.

Toddler accused 'hit wrong pedal'
05 Sep 05 |  Southern Counties
Car park death hearing adjourned
18 Jan 05 |  England

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