I'm not proud says Yorkshire coroner banned from driving for speeding

A senior Yorkshire coroner has been banned from driving for six months after racking up 12 penalty points for speeding in three years.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 5:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 5:11 pm
File picture shows David Hinchliff HM Coroner West Yorkshire..

David Hinchliff, senior coroner for West Yorkshire, said he was “not proud” to have been banned from the road as a result of several ‘low-level speeding’ endorsements.

He revealed the disqualification, which was handed out in November, after being approached by The Yorkshire Post.

A road safety charity said it hoped the ban would be a “much-needed wake up call” for the coroner and that one in four fatal crashes had excess speed as a contributory factor.

Mr Hinchliff said in a statement: “I fully acknowledge and respect the driving ban, it is something I am not proud of.

“Despite the ban I have still been able to fulfil all my duties as Senior Coroner to the public of West Yorkshire East. I remain committed to my role and will continue to carry out this responsibility to the very best of my ability.”

Details of the ban were revealed by Wakefield council, who said: “On 3 November 2016 Mr Hinchliff, Senior Coroner, was disqualified for six months following the totting up procedure for low level speeding points over a period of three years.”

The spokeswoman denied that employees in the coroner’s office were told they would be subject to disciplinary proceedings if they disclosed the information.

She said: “An email was sent by the Coroner’s Services Manager to the Coroner’s office staff to make them aware of Mr Hinchliff’s personal situation.

“Bearing in mind that this is personal information the email did state that it was confidential. It did not state or suggest that people would be subject to disciplinary proceedings if they disclosed this.

In his role as coroner, Mr Hinchliff, who sites at Wakefield Coroner’s Court, regularly presides over inquests involving road deaths, some of which feature speeding drivers.

In May, he ruled on a hearing into the death of a motorcyclist who was travelling over the speed limit and hit a lorry which was performing a U-turn.

But when asked whether Mr Hinchliff would be recusing himself from inquests relating to dangerous driving or speeding, the council spokeswoman said there was no legal requirement to do so.

Motorists can be banned from driving for six months if they are convicted of a driving offence or get 12 or more penalty points within three years.

They are sent a summons in the post telling them they must attend court.

The court will decide how long the disqualification will last, based on how serious they think the offence is.

A spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “David Hinchliff is ‘not proud’ to have been banned from the road for repeated speeding offences – nor should he be.

“At Brake, we work every day with families who have had their lives torn apart because someone chose to drive too fast.

“Breaking the speed limit is a contributory factor in more than one in four fatal crashes in the UK – a statistic that Mr Hinchliff should be well aware of in his professional role. We hope that his ban serves as a much-needed wake-up call.”