EuroMillions winner ‘killed pensioner in crash while reaching for teddy bear’

Britain's youngest EuroMillions jackpot winner killed a pensioner in a Christmas Day car crash after taking his eyes off the road to find his two-year-old son's teddy bear, a court has heard.

Matthew Topham, who pocketed £45 million in 2012, had visited his wife's family shortly before the collision took place at 5.50pm on December 25 2019.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the 31-year-old took his eyes off the road for "up to three seconds" before crashing his BMW into a Ford Fiesta driven by 78-year-old Rodney Regler.

Mr Regler's wife, 75-year-old Mary Jane Regler, died from severe chest injuries sustained in the crash on Louth Road in North Cockerington, Lincolnshire.

He provided a statement to the court in which he said he shouted "Christ's sake, he's on my side of the road" just before the crash, adding: "Then I was hit, then it went quiet."

He told his wife to "hang on love, someone will be here soon", and described Mrs Regler as "quiet", adding: "It's as simple as this, the other car was on my side of the road.

"My wife has gone and my life has changed forever. I have no interest in driving now."

Jurors were told Topham admitted causing death by careless driving, but has denied his driving was dangerous.

The prosecution said he had reached into the back of his car to find his "upset" son's teddy bear, but looked round after being unable to locate it.

He collided with Mr and Mrs Regler's Ford Fiesta as the couple made their way home from Christmas dinner at their son's house.

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Opening the prosecution case on Monday, Michael Cranwell-Brown said: "It is accepted that the collision was entirely the fault of this defendant.

"His attention was diverted from the road as he was looking behind him to retrieve his two-year-old son's teddy bear.

"When he could not find that teddy, he actually looked back to the footwell to try and find the teddy.

"Once he found it he passed it to his son and turned his attention to the road.

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"For up to three seconds before the collision, he did not have his eyes on the road.

"As a consequence of not looking where he was going, his car crossed over into the opposite carriageway and collided with the Ford Fiesta, killing Mrs Regler and leaving Mr Regler with serious injuries."

The court heard Topham had "just left Rushmoor Country Park" when he came up to a minor bend and veered over onto the other side of the road.

Mr Cranwell-Brown said: "The prosecution say that it is irrelevant that the cause of not looking where he was going was that his son was upset.

"He knew that it would not be safe driving along a road and not looking where he was going. He could not just plough on."

Topham, of Swinderby, Lincolnshire, denies causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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