Top KGH medic let off by court after pleading lockdown speeding was in his patient's best interests

Professor Andrew Chilton told the court he'd been rushing to try to save a patient's life

By Kate Cronin
Thursday, 29th October 2020, 7:33 am
Professor Andrew Chilton was caught speeding on the A6 near Desborough on March 29
Professor Andrew Chilton was caught speeding on the A6 near Desborough on March 29

An executive at Kettering General Hospital caught doing 77mph during the first week of lockdown asked magistrates to excuse him after telling them he was rushing to a medical emergency.

Professor Andrew Chilton, who sits on the KGH board and is still a practising gastroenterologist at the Rothwell Road Hospital, was caught travelling at 17mph over the 60mph speed limit on the A6 between Desborough and Rothwell on March 29 this year - just six days into lockdown.

Chilton, of The Green, Great Bowden, had been called in to the hospital just after 9am as part of his role as on-call consultant after a patient suffered a 'catastrophic' gastrointestinal bleed.

He was flashed by a mobile speed camera on the single-carriageway road and was sent a notice of intended prosecution by police.

He admitted speeding, but rather than accept the points on his licence, Chilton appeared at Northampton Magistrates' Court yesterday (Wednesday, October 28) to plead exceptional circumstances had led him to speed during the 'drop everything and go' moment.

In a letter presented to the court, Chilton, 57, said: "I believe my actions amount to both exceptional and special circumstances and I ask for your reasonable consideration.

"I am both a practising clinician and an executive medical director... In the current lockdown Covid state this was both reasonable and urgent travel."

Addressing the court from the witness box, Chilton, who did not have legal representation, said: "It was six days into lockdown. I was on call and notified that a patient had had a bleed.

"It was a fraught time because there was a shortage of PPE and endoscopy is an aerosol-generating procedure.

"(The speeding incident) was by reasons of emergency in a time-critical situation.

"My plea was to rescind the offence and not apply any points to my licence.

"The roads were practically empty apart from the mobile speed camera and myself. They were the only vehicles on the road.

"I wasn't speeding excessively, I was driving assertively. The roads were clear and dry and I don't believe I put anyone in danger. I acted in the patient's best interests."

Chairman of the bench Dominic Goble said: "We find there is a special reason in this case."

"This was different to other situations that you have found yourself in."

The court gave Chilton an absolute discharge and did not apply any points to his driving licence.