Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Drink driver admits Hangleton road death
A drink-driver who ploughed into a father and killed him has refused to explain to police why he did it.
Painter Joseph Lavelle repeatedly denied causing social campaigner Alf Filer’s death on the A27 at Hangleton.
But on the morning of the start of his trial at Lewes Crown Court the 36-year-old changed his plea and confessed to running over father-of-two Mr Filer.
Lavelle was two-and-a-half times over the drink-drive limit when he struck Mr Filer, who was standing next to his broken-down car on June 23 last year, knocking him metres along the road and into undergrowth.
He had denied causing 58-year-old Mr Filer’s death by dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol but on the day his trial was due to begin admitted causing death through careless driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The Crown Prosecution Service accepted this plea and Lavelle is set to be sentenced at the same court on August 22.
It’s simple. If you drink, don’t drive. If you drive, don’t drinkTony Dring, Campaign Against Drinking and Driving
In the meantime Lavelle, of Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, has been banned from driving.
Sergeant Neil Walker, from Sussex Police , said Lavelle had never explained himself. He said that during police interviews Lavelle refused to say how much he had drunk or where he had been.
But Sgt Walker said the tragedy was a reminder of why people should not drink and drive.
He said: “If you need a reason not to drink and drive, then this is it.
“If you look Alf up on the internet you see how popular he was.
“A lot of people have been affected by this tragedy, which was totally avoidable.
“The circumstances from Mr Lavelle’s side will never be known but what is known is that drink-driving kills.
“A lot of people were there that night and tried to save Alf.
“There were members of the emergency services that worked hard to save him.
“He had two sons, Leon and Lawrence, and was a very well-respected man.
“We are still arresting too many offenders for driving under the influence and figures are up this year.
“You only need to look at an incident like this to see the tragic outcome it can have.”
'No need to drink and drive'
Tony Dring, of the Campaign Against Drinking and Driving (CADD), blasted Lavelle.
He said: “Mr Filer’s death was so avoidable and so unnecessary.
“There is no need for anybody to drink and drive.
“The only safe limit is not to drink and drive.
“Mr Filer’s children have lost their father.
“It’s simple. If you drink, don’t drive. If you drive, don’t drink.
“Joseph Lavelle deserves no sympathy from anybody.
“He could face up to 14 years in prison for this offence – killing somebody using a motor vehicle.
“But people tend to get more like three years. The judiciary seem to think that three years compensates for a human life.
“How out of touch they are.”
Mr Filer, previously described by his son Leon as a “great father”, was well-known in trade union circles.
Hove union officials described Mr Filer, of Elm Grove, Worthing, as “a truly brilliant, dedicated and lovable man”, while Holly Smith, president of Brighton and Hove Trades Council, said he was always keen to get involved in local events.
Comments are closed on this article.