Man admits causing deaths of two ‘utterly devoted parents’ by dangerous driving

A van driver has admitted causing the deaths of two “utterly devoted parents” by dangerous driving while he had excess drugs in his system.

Robert Bateman, 36, and his 35-year-old wife Paula died when their Ford Focus crashed head-on into an Iveco Daily van on the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal in Cambridgeshire just after 8pm on September 3.

Their daughters Lexi, 10, and 18-month-old Elizabeth were also in the car, and survived.

Luke Norton, of Nocton Park Road, Nocton, Lincoln, admitted at Peterborough Crown Court to causing the deaths of Mr and Mrs Bateman by dangerous driving.

Chatteris crash
Chatteris crash

The 31-year-old also pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with an excess amount of the drug benzoylecgonine in his blood.

The drug is the main metabolite of cocaine.

Norton denied causing Lexi Bateman serious injuries by dangerous driving.

John Farmer, prosecuting, said Miss Bateman had not sustained any fractures in the collision, adding: “The child suffered substantial bruising so we offer no evidence on that count.”

Bald-headed Norton appeared by video-link from HMP Peterborough for Friday’s brief hearing.

He spoke only to confirm his identity and date of birth and to enter his pleas.

Judge Sean Enright remanded the defendant in custody to be sentenced at the same court on October 16.