Van driver who killed ‘devoted parents’ Robert and Paula Bateman had excess amount of drugs in his system, court told

PUBLISHED: 14:33 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:39 02 October 2020

Tributes have been paid to parents Robert Bateman, 36 and known as Bob, and his wife Paula Bateman, 35, of Westfield Road, Manea, who died after a head-on collision.. The pair?s two daughters, Lexi, aged 10, and 18-month old Elizabeth, were also in the car. Both girls have since been discharged from hospital. Picture: POLICE

Tributes have been paid to parents Robert Bateman, 36 and known as Bob, and his wife Paula Bateman, 35, of Westfield Road, Manea, who died after a head-on collision.. The pair?s two daughters, Lexi, aged 10, and 18-month old Elizabeth, were also in the car. Both girls have since been discharged from hospital. Picture: POLICE

Archant

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

Tributes have been paid to “utterly devoted” parents Robert Bateman, 36 and known as Bob, and his wife Paula Bateman, 35, of Westfield Road, Manea, who died after a head-on collision in Fenland. The driver of the other vehicle - a van- has admitted causing their death.  Picture: POLICETributes have been paid to “utterly devoted” parents Robert Bateman, 36 and known as Bob, and his wife Paula Bateman, 35, of Westfield Road, Manea, who died after a head-on collision in Fenland. The driver of the other vehicle - a van- has admitted causing their death. Picture: POLICE

Robert Bateman, 36, and his 35-year-old wife Paula of Westfield Road, Manea, died when their Ford Focus crashed head-on into an Iveco Daily van on the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal 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.

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.”

You may also want to watch:

Bald-headed Norton appeared by video-link from HMP Peterborough for today’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.

More than £16,000 has been raised to help the two children of Robert and Paula through a JustGiving appeal.

Bob and Paula’s family said: after the collision “We are utterly devastated by this news. Bob and Paula were much-loved friends to many and will be missed by everyone who knew them.

“They were also utterly devoted parents. Bob was a much-loved son and father, while Paula was a much-loved daughter, sister and mother.”

Sharing the JustGiving page on her local village discussion page via Facebook, a friend of the parents said: “Need to reach people far and wide. My friend and her husband were killed on leaving two beautiful girls behind. “If you can, please donate to help secure their future.”

She said: “Paula’s friends are compiling a memory book for the girls to look at when they’re older to know how loved she was”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Cambs Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Cambs Times