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Driver Who Smashed Shalford War Memorial Pleads Guilty to Drugged Driving

Published on: 26 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 1 May, 2022

The Shalford War Memorial in pieces after the car travelling from Guildford smashed into it. Photo Rob Lowe

By Martin Giles

The teenage driver who smashed into the war memorial outside Shalford church has pleaded guilty to drugged driving. The collision occurred on New Year’s Eve.

Benjamin Lee, 19, of Killicks, Cranleigh pleaded guilty after appearing at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on Monday (April 25) to driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a  Benzoylecgonine, the major metabolite (a substance made or used when the body breaks down a drug or food) of cocaine, above the specified limit.

He was disqualified from driving and ordered to pay a £276 fine, costs of £85 and a £34 victim surcharge.

The war memorial was left in pieces after the collision.

Today (April 27) a spokesperson for Shalford Parish Council said that as the owner of the memorial the council is making a claim against the driver’s insurer.

“We submitted our claim some time ago for the full cost of the repair which has been estimated to be in the region of £40,000. That was some time ago, so if we do not hear back soon we will be getting back to them.”

According to online sources, in cases of drink or drugged driving insurance providers must pay for the costs of claims by a third party but they might try to reclaim these from the person insured.

See also:

Driver Arrested On Suspicion of Drug Driving After Collision with War Memorial

Shalford War Memorial Destroyed in Collision, Man in Custody


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Responses to Driver Who Smashed Shalford War Memorial Pleads Guilty to Drugged Driving

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    April 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Great shame the cost of repairing the war memorial destroyed was not also part of costs too for Mr Lee to pay. I imagine that the repair costs will run into thousands. Hope it is repaired soon.

    • Howard Fisher Reply

      April 26, 2022 at 11:51 pm

      Presumably, the repair costs will be a civil claim against the driver or his insurance company – unless the insurance co tries to wriggle out of it on the grounds that he was driving under the influence of drugs and so voided his cover.

      Editor’s note: Please see the updated article.

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    April 27, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    One would assume that Lee’s insurers will be footing the bill for the reinstatement of the memorial.

    Perhaps the parish council might consider moving the memorial further back on the green, perhaps to the other side of the footpath, to save it from being damaged again.

    Placing it further back would also allow those paying their respects to be further from the road when doing so.

  3. Jill Howard Reply

    April 27, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    Why should he not pay for the repair of the war memorial? He is a man of 19 – years of age, knew what he was doing and so should know that it is right and proper to pay for the repair or go to prison.

    Being lenient is not good education.

    I’d be interested to know the outcome.

  4. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 28, 2022 at 9:06 am

    Why is he not in jail?

  5. C Nicholls Reply

    April 29, 2022 at 10:36 am

    I agree with Jill. The culprit clearly has enough money to buy drugs so let him pay for repairs for the damage he alone caused. It is his responsibility, not the taxpayers’.

    Have the bits just been left lying around? Health and safety and all that I would have thought it would have been better to have moved all the broken pieces in order that as much of it is still available when they do get round to repairing it.

    Editor’s comment: It would appear that the insurers would be expected to cover the cost of the repair in this case, although given the circumstances they might attempt to obtain a recompense from Benjamin Lee.

  6. Charlotte Gray Reply

    May 1, 2022 at 9:28 am

    I can’t believe how lightly this young man got off. He should be in prison.

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