Swanscombe resident found guilty of dangerous driving resulting in death of grandfather in Chatham

Swanscombe resident Naomi North has been found guilty of dangerous driving resulting in the death of Bill Roache in Chatham. Roache, a 72-year-old grandfather, was struck by North’s Ford Fiesta while crossing New Road in August 2020. Despite the severity of the collision, North failed to stop at the scene, leaving Roache to die alone.

During her trial at Maidstone Crown Court, North initially pleaded guilty to driving carelessly but denied that her driving was dangerous. However, the jury did not agree and ultimately convicted her on the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Christiaan Moll presented evidence that North was driving along the 30 mph dual carriageway from Chatham to Rochester when she struck Roache, who was using the pedestrian crossing. Despite the impact throwing him into the air and smashing her windscreen, North did not stop. CCTV footage showed that she was driving at an average speed of 29-33 mph.

Witness testimony from a nearby resident, Matthew Henley, described seeing Roache, who used walking sticks, crossing the road before being hit by North’s car. He stated that the car swerved, wobbled, and then continued driving without stopping. The following day, North’s sister contacted the police, leading to her arrest and eventual conviction.

During police interviews, North claimed that she had visited her sisters in Strood and Gravesend before the incident. She stated that she had left the Leysdown area at 10:15 pm and did not see Roache before the collision. She also claimed to have lost her phone and walked nine miles to her sister’s home before spending the night in a park near her home.

After the verdict, a spokesperson for Roache’s family expressed their grief and anger, stating that Roache will never get to meet his new grandchild due in July. They also shared that the trial had been emotionally challenging, as it brought back painful memories of Roache’s death. Describing Roache as a beloved father, grandfather, and friend, the family hopes that justice will finally be served after three years of waiting.

Judge Oliver Saxby KC has ordered probation reports and an interim driving ban for North. The sentencing hearing is set to take place on March 21.

The text and images in this article are generated with the assistance of AI and may contain errors. Please verify any important information as we cannot accept any responsibility for incorrect information.

Scroll to Top