Motorist loses his children's £30k inheritance money fighting a £100 speeding fine

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Richard Keedwell, 71, with his vehicle which he was caught speeding in.
Richard Keedwell, 71, with his vehicle which he was caught speeding in Credit: Jake McPherson / SWNS/SWNS

After spending an estimated £30,000 of his children’s inheritance unsuccessfully fighting a £100 speeding fine, retired engineer Richard Keedwell has lost a lot. But little did he expect that his quest to challenge the “unfair” fine may have helped uncover an error in the system that could save thousands of unlucky motorists hundreds of pounds.

Mr Keedwell, 71, from Yate in Bristol was accused of driving 35.4mph in a 30mph zone while out Christmas shopping with his wife in Worcester in November 2016. 

However he was so convinced that he was not speeding at the time that he spent two and a half years attending seven court appearances to fight the fine issued by West Mercia Police. 

Mr Keedwell, a father of three sons, hired an expert witness in electronics and radar, Tim Farrow, who analysed the images of him allegedly speeding and said that he could have been caught out by a malfunction with a speeding camera known as the “double doppler” effect. 

This occurs when the camera’s radar measuring the speed of a passing car accidentally deflects onto a second vehicle travelling in the same direction. 

As the distance between the two cars changes the “doppler shift” is created, which makes the camera record the second vehicle as travelling faster than it is. Physicists commonly explain the doppler effect by how it causes the sudden change in pitch in a passing ambulance siren. 

Mr Farrow, a former RAF electronics specialist who has worked as an expert witness in court cases since 2006, believes the case “should never have gotten off the ground” because the double doppler error could have caused the machine to receive a false reading of Mr Keedwell’s speed. 

Mr Farrow claims that he successfully used the argument in a speeding case in 2015, when a van driver was wrongly recorded as driving 85mph in a 30mph speed limit. Mr Farrow managed to prove that he was actually driving 29.08mph and attributed the error to the double doppler effect. 

Instead of paying his £100 fine three years ago, Mr Keedwell instructed barristers for his first appeal hearing in June 2017 up to his last hearing in August this year, which he estimates cost him £22,000. 

He has since paid the fine but is facing heavy legal fees of more than £6,700 after losing three hearings and is now deciding whether to appeal for the third time. 

Mr Keedwell said a "seriously flawed" legal system meant fighting the fine had taken nearly three years and used up his sons' inheritance money Credit:  SWNS/ Jake McPherson / SWNS

“I never saw the flash of the camera and I certainly didn’t feel like I was doing faster than 30 mph,” Mr Keedwell said. “I was incredibly annoyed when I got the fine through the post. I am convinced that Tim knows what he is on about and that there was a misreading. If he told me to just pay the fine, nothing has happened here then I would have accepted it and paid it.

“But when you start looking into this, you realise that it’s more about them getting money than road safety. Ordinary working people like me are getting done over by the system. I have not been listened to and there has not been any justice in this case. 

“I obviously regret losing that amount of money and I have often woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because I am so panicked. But I couldn’t let them get away with it. The system is flawed and it needed challenging.”

Mr Keedwell’s three sons, 42-year-old Alex and 39-year-old twins Daniel and Jonathan, will now miss out on £30,000 worth of inheritance. 

“They, like most people, think I am absolutely mad for challenging it. But it was an injustice and I wanted to air it.”

A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: “All of our speed enforcement cameras are calibrated regularly and are Home Office approved. This particular offence was dealt with by the Courts, who after hearing all the evidence found the defendant guilty.”