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'Good Samaritan' Michael Ritson Died Trying To Stop Driver Leaving Accident Scene

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Michael Ritson
Michael Ritson

A Good Samaritan who tried to stop a driver fleeing the scene of an accident was killed when he was thrown on to the roof of the car as it accelerated away, a court has heard.

Michael Ritson, 33, who was driving home with his family, was killed when he got out of his car to help in the aftermath of the crash between a car and a motorbike.

Steven Black, who pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to causing the death by dangerous driving of Ritson, a father of three, has told he will be sentenced next month.

Black had been in collision with a motorbike and was driving away from the scene while speaking to the emergency services on the phone when father-of-three Mr Ritson was thrown into the windscreen, on to the roof, then into the road.

Judge John Milford, discussing Black's basis of plea, described how he had deliberately tried to leave the scene even though he knew Mr Ritson was trying to stop him, the Press Association reported.

"He accelerates towards the deceased, who to avoid being run down, it would seem, jumped on to the bonnet. The speed of the vehicle was sufficient to cause the windscreen to break as it impacted the deceased," Milford continued.

"The defendant continued to drive forward with the deceased on the roof of the car until he was thrown from it, suffering fatal injuries. Only then did the defendant stop his vehicle."

Black, 27, of The Riding, Kenton, Newcastle, was originally charged with manslaughter over the incident in March last year and his trial was due to start today.

A recording of the collision was made from Black's 999 call which was on-going when Mr Ritson was hit. The defence estimated the incident lasted four seconds.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said Black believed he could get his car past Mr Ritson, who was standing in front of him.

It was said he was "fearful" at the time, and was merely moving his car when he hit Mr Ritson.

He added: "He was intending to move his car from the immediate vicinity of Mr Ritson but not completely away from the scene."

Judge Milford refused the defendant bail and adjourned sentence until 2 February.

He told Black: "As you know, a significant sentence of imprisonment is going to be passed in this case."

Mr Ritson was driving home with his family when he got out of his car to help in the aftermath of the crash between Black's Ford Focus and the motorbike.

His widow, Tracey, told the Sunday Sun newspaper in July that their two youngest children were in the car when the tragedy unfolded.

She said: "No child should ever have to go through anything like that. It was terrible."