South East Wales

'No memory' of crash that killed Joseph Smith, 5

Crash scene - Western Ave, Cardiff, Sept 2015 Image copyright Wales News Service

A driver involved in a head-on crash which killed a five-year-old boy cannot remember anything about the collision, his trial has heard.

Joseph Smith suffered multiple injuries when the Ford Focus car he was travelling in smashed into oncoming traffic on Cardiff's Western Avenue.

Cardiff Crown Court has heard he was not using a booster seat at the time.

Stepfather Dean Collins, 24, from St Mellons, denies causing death by dangerous driving in September 2015.

The jury heard Mr Collins was driving towards Barry in Vale of Glamorgan to take Joseph to football practice along with his daughter, partner Laura and her mother Michelle, when the collision happened near a Tesco store.

Giving evidence in his defence, Mr Collins said he remembered approaching traffic lights but cannot remember anything afterwards except waking up injured in the car.

Mr Collins, who tore his aorta and broke his femur, pelvis and ribs in the crash, said he had since travelled along the road as a passenger in a bid to try to jog his memory but it had not worked.

"I want to remember. I can't, I don't know if it's a body shock - it doesn't want me to remember, but I just can't," he said.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption As Joseph Smith was not wearing a booster seat, it meant the seatbelt was across his neck

Cross examining Mr Collins, Janet McDonald, suggested he did not want to remember because he did not want to accept he was at fault.

She said witnesses had described Mr Collins driving erratically before the crash, undertaking and weaving in and out of the traffic like an "idiot" and a "boy racer".

She said: "Is it just your way of facing up, or not facing up, to what happened?

Mr Collins replied: "No, I think it's my way of coping with that day and losing my son.

"I was involved in a tragic accident."

"A tragic accident that could have been avoided," Ms McDonald replied.

"It wasn't avoidable," Mr Collins said.

Ms McDonald asked: "How can you say that? You just don't want to accept you were at fault."

"No," Mr Collins said.

Image copyright Wales News Service

The jury also heard Mr Collins had passed his driving test just three months before the crash and was not wearing a seat belt at the time.

Joseph was wearing a seat belt but was not in a booster seat, as is required for children under 12 or those under 135cm (53in) tall.

Mr Collins said he did not realise Joseph should have been using one.

"I thought he was tall enough. I never done anything in a malicious way. I never put my kids at harm. I done it because I thought he was fine," he said.

The court previously heard small traces of cocaine were found in Mr Collins' blood after the crash.

He told the court he had taken it while on a night out either the night before or two nights before the crash and did not realise it would still be in his system when he went to drive on the day of the collision.

Mr Collins also denies four charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The case continues.

Related Topics

More on this story