"we started to cross and the car sped up."
Asif Hussain, aged 23, of Newcastle, was jailed for two years after he knocked down and killed two childhood sweethearts.
Elderly couple Ann and Lawrence Nickerson were knocked down and left for dead as they crossed a road in Jesmond.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that on November 23, 2019, the couple were headed to an Italian restaurant to cheer themselves up after learning their son’s cancer had returned and was terminal.
The childhood sweethearts were due to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary just months later. The couple were crossing the 30mph dual carriageway when Hussain collided with them at 40mph.
He did not see them and made no attempt to brake or swerve.
Witnesses rushed to perform CPR on Mrs Nickerson, who tragically died at the scene.
Mr Nickerson was conscious and told witnesses:
“We were waiting to cross the road and pressed the button and we waited for the light to turn green then we started to cross and the car sped up.”
He died days later in hospital.
A large-scale police search was launched before Hussain handed himself in and was arrested.
Hussain pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving, causing death whilst uninsured, failing to stop following a collision and possession of cannabis.
The Nickerson family issued a statement which read:
“Today brings us closure on the criminal proceedings but in no way does it bring any relief.”
“Our family and all those that knew and loved our parents are still grieving their loss. They were the most wonderful people tragically taken from us before their time.
“We miss them beyond belief.
“We would like to thank all our friends, family and the police officers working for the liaison team for their amazing support throughout what has been a horrendous time. Thank you.”
On January 15, 2021, Hussain was jailed for two years. He was also banned from driving for three years which starts upon his release. Hussain must also complete an extended driving test.
Sergeant Matt Sykes, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols department, said:
“I would like to take this opportunity to praise the courage and bravery of the Nickerson family throughout these horrific circumstances and these incredibly difficult court proceedings.
“This has been a truly devastating case to bring before the courts and I hope today helps bring the family the first step towards the closure they deserve.
“Ann and Lawrence’s deaths were completely preventable and this incident shows just how the senseless and irresponsible actions of one person can bring total devastation to other people’s lives.
“Hussain hit two innocent pedestrians because he was driving carelessly and too fast, and also fled the scene, leaving them dying in the road.
“One day his custodial sentence will come to an end, but hopefully the needless taking of the lives of two innocent people is something which will stay with him forever.
“I want to stress to all drivers across our region just how dangerous our roads can be when you drive irresponsibly and fail to pay attention – please treat our pedestrians and road users with respect, and help us prevent anyone else having to go through this horrific ordeal.
“No one should lose their life on our region’s roads.”