Tribute to elderly couple after man sentenced over fatal hit-and-run

The family of an elderly couple killed in a hit-and-run have paid tribute to “the most wonderful people” after the man who caused their deaths was jailed for two years.

Childhood sweethearts Ann Nickerson, 75, and her husband Lawrence, 79, from Heaton, Newcastle, were hit by a car near the Punch Bowl pub on Jesmond Road, at around 7.20pm on November 23, 2019.

Asif Hussain, 23, of Wingrove Gardens, handed himself in to police after a large-scale search and was arrested in connection with the hit-and-run.

He later pleaded guilty to driving the car and causing the deaths, and on Friday he was sentenced to two years imprisonment at Newcastle Crown Court, according to Northumbria Police.

As well as his custodial sentence, the force said Hussain was disqualified from driving for three years, to begin after his custodial sentence, and must complete an extended driving test.

In a statement, the Nickerson family said: “Today brings us closure on the criminal proceedings but in no way does it bring any relief.

“Our family and all those that knew and loved our parents are still grieving their loss.

“They were the most wonderful people, tragically taken from us before their time. We miss them beyond belief.

“We would like to thank all our friends, family and the police officers working for the liaison team for their amazing support throughout what has been a horrendous time. Thank you.”

Sergeant Matt Sykes from Northumbria Police said: “I would like to take this opportunity to praise the courage and bravery of the Nickerson family throughout these horrific circumstances and these incredibly difficult court proceedings.

“This has been a truly devastating case to bring before the courts and I hope today helps bring the family the first step towards the closure they deserve.

“Ann and Lawrence’s deaths were completely preventable and this incident shows just how the senseless and irresponsible actions of one person can bring total devastation to other people’s lives.

“Hussain hit two innocent pedestrians because he was driving carelessly and too fast, and also fled the scene, leaving them dying in the road.

“One day his custodial sentence will come to an end, but hopefully the needless taking of the lives of two innocent people is something which will stay with him forever.”