Pensioner admits role in fatal crash

A GRIEVING fiancée has spoken of her relief after a pensioner admitted causing a road crash which killed an Essex police officer. Patricia Maltby, 71, from Christopher Lane in Sudbury, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday to causing death by dangerous driving.

A GRIEVING fiancée has spoken of her relief after a pensioner admitted causing a road crash which killed an Essex police officer.

Patricia Maltby, 71, from Christopher Lane in Sudbury, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday to causing death by dangerous driving.

It follows a crash on the A12 on January 29 which claimed the life of Sgt Bob Walsham, 48, who lived in Hadleigh but worked for Essex Police.

Last night Sgt Walsham's fiancée Emma Claxton said she was relieved the pensioner had admitted the offence and the family wouldn't have to sit through a trial.

Speaking on behalf of Mr Walsham's family she said: “First of all we would like to thank the emergency services and the traffic police because they have been absolutely fantastic.

“We're now just glad it's coming to an end. We're glad to see she has put her hands up and admitted responsibility.

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“It's a relief that we won't have to be put through a trial - we didn't want it dragging into Christmas. We can now put this side of it behind us and try and get on with our lives.”

Maltby was unhurt in the accident but Sgt Walsham was pronounced dead at the scene.

The fatal collision happened on the London-bound stretch of the road at East Bergholt when Maltby's silver Vauxhall Corsa and Sgt Walsham's purple Kawasaki motorcycle collided.

He had served with Essex Police for 19 years, during which time he was awarded three Chief Constable's Commendations and the Millard Trophy for work in west Clacton.

Sgt Walsham helped the Black Shuck Motorcycle Club to raise money for local charities and in August last year he helped the club put on a motorbike rally in aid of Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice.

He had three children from a previous marriage including a daughter called April who died soon after birth.

Maltby will be sentenced next month.