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Upset at death of scooter man

PUBLISHED: 17:10 14 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 14 October 2010

THE family and friends of a disabled man who died hours before he was due in court to answer a charge of driving his mobility scooter without due care and attention have criticised the decision to prosecute him.

Wilfred Forrest, 51, described by his son Craig, 22, as “cheerful, popular and full of laughter”, collapsed and died in his home in Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth, on Tuesday morning as he was getting ready to go to the town’s magistrates’ court.

The charge he was facing related to an alleged collision in the Market Place in which a pedestrian suffered ankle and head injuries on March 27.

Craig, of Southtown Road, Southtown, said: “We are still waiting for the result of the post-mortem examination but we are convinced it was the stress of the court case that killed him.

“He told us on Monday he was petrified of going to court. It drained him physically and mentally and he has had bad mouth ulcers and been unable to eat properly.”

Considering the poor state of his father’s health he described the decision to prosecute him as “over the top”.

“Teenagers do a lot worse and just get a caution,” he said.

The former steel worker, who has two other sons, Jon, 25, and Chris, 33, moved to Yarmouth from Nottingham about seven years ago to start a new life.

An ardent Stoke City fan, he had been left paralysed down his left side at the age of 17 after an attack by football hooligans which left him in a coma for six months.

Craig said his father had no recollection of any collision and it would have been totally out of character because “even if he bumped into someone he would always say sorry”.

Mr Forrest’s friend, Terry Cloarec, 37, also of Southtown Road, Southtown, said: “He had loads of friends and got on well with everyone. He always put others first and was very cheerful and full of laughter.

“He never let his disability get in the way.”

His death had left a big hole in the lives of his family and friends.

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear of Mr Forrest’s death and our thoughts are with his family. As is usual with unexpected deaths, a post-mortem will have been carried out and the case referred to the coroner for investigation.”

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