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Judge says 'sorry' to widow as crash case collapses

PUBLISHED: 17:43 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:25 11 August 2010

A JUDGE has apologised to the grieving widow of a pensioner killed in a hit-and-run after the case against the accused driver collapsed. James Mansbridge, 33, was allegedly driving a speeding BMW that killed retired lorry driver, Ernie Boyens, 66, after s

A JUDGE has apologised to the grieving widow of a pensioner killed in a hit-and-run after the case against the accused driver collapsed.

James Mansbridge, 33, was allegedly driving a speeding BMW that killed retired lorry driver, Ernie Boyens, 66, after smashing into his Ford Escort.

It was alleged at Snaresbrook Crown Court that Mansbridge fled the scene, and was traced because his DNA was found inside the BMW.

But Judge Jacqueline Beech directed the jury to clear Mansbridge of death by dangerous driving because the scientific evidence was inconclusive.

It emerged that Mansbridge's DNA could have placed him as a passenger in the vehicle, or as the driver.

After he was acquitted it was revealed that Mansbridge had previous convictions for dangerous driving, which had not gone before the court.

The judge accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), of a 'gross dereliction of responsibilities' and told Mr Boyen's widow Andrea: 'I deeply regret this state of affairs you find yourself in.

'I am sorry, It's unlikely you will ever know the true position as to who killed your husband.'

Mansbridge denied being in the BMW and said he could not explain how his DNA was found there.

Judge Beech told the jury: 'He may have been in the car. That might have been speculation.'

The CPS was also criticised for repeatedly failing to make a 'bad character application' which could have put Mansbridge's previous convictions for dangerous driving before the jury.

SEE TOMORROW'S POST FOR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ERNIE BOYENS' WIDOW

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