Justice Case Watch
- Causing death by careless driving is occasionally still heard at the Crown Court. Marjorie Tappenden (74) pleaded guilty to causing the death of experienced cyclist Kevin Lane (52) by careless driving after hitting the wrong pedal and losing control of her car. It was to be sentenced in the Magistrates Court until Kevin’s partner, Angela Cooke, campaigned for the CPS to request it be sent to the Crown Court. The elderly driver received a 12 month s uspended sentence and a three year driving ban. Angela had called for her never to be allowed to drive a gain.
- A van driver was recently acquitted of causing the death by careless driving of Violet Thompson. The driver had reversed his van down a narrow street and ran over Violet. The CPS initially decided not to prosecute but changed their mind after the family exercised their Victim’s Right to Review.
- Philiip Sinden (36), a n HGV driver, was recently acquitted of causing the death of cyclist Philiip Squire (18) . Sinden was charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving but the jury acquitted him of both that and the alternative lesser charge of CausingDeath by Careless Driving. This was despite evidence of texting before the collision. No witnesses saw Squire come off the pavement into the road, as claimed by Sinden.
- Alan Neve (51) was run over and killed when Barry Meyer (53) jumped a red light in his lorry. Meyer pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Careless Driving after the judge allowed his previous five driving bans to be presented as bad character evidence. He has been told to expect a custodial sentence
- Robert Blackwell (20) was sentenced to four years in prison and a five year driving ban for killing Liberty Baker (14). Blackwell had pleaded guilty t o causing the death by Dangerous Driving. Liberty was killed and another three injured after Blackwell lost control
of his car and mounted the pavement. Police concluded he had been doing at least 44 mph on a 30mph road .
- After an extended high speed race which ended in the death of Armands Ozolins (26), and killed a horse whilst seriously injuring the rider, disqualified driver Helmuts Punovskis (31) was given a 12 year sentence for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and also Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving. Liga Jaskova (30), mother of two, was also jailed for 14 months for lying about who was driving.
- Taxi driver Mohammed Irfan admitted Causing Death by Careless Driving after he ran over Shaun Hodgkinson who had passed out on the road near his house. Irfan was distracted by talking to a back seat passenger who testified that she had seen Hodgkinson and had assumed Irfan would stop. Irfan was given a two-year suspended prison sentence, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £300 court costs.
- Martin Li (22) was given a prison sentence for eight years for causing the death by dangerous driving of his backseat passenger Lucy Duggan (18). Two other passengers were seriously injured in the crash. But the Court of Appeal ruled this as excessive and reduced it to six years and four months. Li’s driving ban was also reduced from 10 years to five years as judges feared it would harm his employment chances.
- Glasgow City Council was fined £20,000 for safety failings which resulted in the death of Malcolm McCulloch (71) who was hit by a reversing refuse lorry. Neither the lorry driver or his colleague had attended the training on the need for reversing assistants.
- Andrzej Wojcicki (45) was driving his wife and children in a minibus when he hit and killed cyclist Owain James (30). He was convicted of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving after the CPS accused him of looking at photos on his mobile phone. He was jailed for five years and banned for 10 years.
- Lorry driver Robert Palmer (32) pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Andrew McMenigall (47) and Toby Wallace (36), who had just started the Land’s End to John O’Groats charity ride. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years for each count, to be served concurrently with the judge convinced he had fallen asleep after not having sufficient rest breaks and falsifying his rest records. He was also jailed for an additional year for dangerous driving whilst he was on bail. Palmer was also banned for 10 years and ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
- Initially charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, Michael Coe (36) had his plea changed to Causing Death by Careless Driving. Coe was doing 39 to 41mph on his motorcycle in a 30mph when he hit Maureen Clarke on 4 October. She died six months later in a high dependency unit in hospital. Coe also admitted Driving without Insurance, failing to stop after a collision, and making a false statement to obtain insurance. Coe was jailed for one year and banned from driving for three years.
- After deliberately driving at and killing Jasmine Allsop (14) and Olivia Lewry (16), after taking ketamine and mephedrone, Samuel Etheringon (20) pleaded not guilty to manslaughter but guilty to Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. Evidence from his car’s black box (which was fitted after a previous conviction) showed he had accelerated from 61 to 71mph and hit the girls at 65mph, then left the scene. He tried to appeal his nine-year custodial sentence but this was dismissed. He was also banned for seven years.
THE government recently announced that the number of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving convictions rose by 38 per cent during the year up to September 2013. 226 drivers were convicted of this charge whilst Causing Death by Careless Driving was down by 14 per cent to 138. Some more recent cases are shown below:
- Tony Hilson, 46, father of two, was hit and killed by Victoria McClure, 38, who had her eyes off the road for some 20 seconds as she adjusted her sat-nav system whilst driving at speeds between 40-50mph. She had offered to plead guilty to Causing Death by Careless Driving but was prosecuted and convicted of the more serious charge of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. McClure was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for two and a half years, and required to take an extended retest. Her request for early release from prison was rejected.
- Novice driver, Natalie Foulser, 21, was jailed for eight months and given a two-year ban for killing Averil Monks in Blackpool. Foulser was acquitted of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving but admitted Causing Death by Careless Driving. Foulser had been revving her engine to scare two other pedestrians and did not notice Mrs Monks crossing the road. Within two months of his wife’s death, Mr Monks, described as “a broken man”, also died.
- Mohammed Rashid, 23, pleaded guilty to Causing Death of Careless Driving. Laurence Gunn was on a zebra crossing near Hampstead Heath when he was hit by Rashid who was not wearing his prescribed glasses, although he later passed a sight test without them. Rashid was fined £500, banned for one year (the minimum) and given 140 hours unpaid work. The CPS had prosecuted him for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving but four days into the trial, this was dropped and Rashid pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Careless Driving.
- David Wadforth, 25, had been drinking the day he caused the death of his passenger Ashley Circuit after overtaking dangerously. He pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and also Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving as the innocent driver in the other car was injured and will never walk unaided again. Wadforth was given a six-year custodial sentence for the death and a three-year sentence to run concurrent for the serious injury. He was also given a four year driving ban reported to start upon his release from prison.
- Deborah Lumley-Homes, 53, hit and killed cyclist Julian Evans on a straight stretch of road with good visibility. Collision investigators concluded that Lumley-Holmes would have had a clear view of the road for at least 200 metres before the crash. Despite the crash shattering her windscreen, she did not stop for 90 metres and was unable to explain this. She was given a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work. She was also banned for 12 months and ordered to attend a women’s emotional wellbeing course. Judge John Holt was reported to have said that the death of Julian Evans had been a tragedy for all involved, including Lumley-Holmes.
- Marie Easter, 44, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for causing the deaths of two child passengers, Jessica and Tamzin Porter, after running off the road and overturning her car several times. The vehicle had defective tyres and Jessica was not thought to have been wearing her seat belt. Easter pleaded guilty to two counts of Causing Death by Careless Driving, and was banned for four years with a compulsory retest.
- Jaswinder Arora, 45, had been using his mobile phone prior to crashing his lorry into the back of Carmen Bucur’s car which was being towed on the A14. Arora had an unobstructed view for eight seconds prior to the May 2012 collision. Convicted of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, he was jailed for three and a half years. His appeal for a sentence reduction was rejected with the High Court judges saying “Whilst the sentence of three and a half years is a severe one, the judge was amply entitled to pass it”, given that “For a significant part of the journey, he was inevitably distracted—this was not a momentary lapse of attention. It is inevitable that a driver using his mobile phone is distracted. That distraction is likely to continue even after the call and text message”.
- Peter Barraclough admitted causing the death of Leonard Grayson, 75, a veteran cyclist, last August after he took his eyes off the road to look at a lorry. North Yorkshire Police stated that Grayson would have been visible for at least nine seconds. Barraclough was given a five months suspended prison sentence and an 18 month driving ban and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work. The judge was reported to have said that this “brief lapse of concentration could have
happened to anybody”. The prosecutor was reported to have referred to the death as “an extremely tragic road accident”, despite CPS policy being not to refer to accidents.
- Arriva bus driver Raymond Clark, 70, was found not guilty of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving but he pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Careless Driving for killing 18 year old Jan Henney. To avoid parked cars, Clark had driven his
bus the wrong way around a traffic island and hit Henney who had stepped out after looking for traffic coming in the
- Gordon Dyche, 24, was jailed for four years for Causing Death by Careless Driving in a crash that killed four members
of the Griffith family. He had hit their car whilst trying to overtake in a rush to get to work and shunted it into water
(Lyn Clywedog). He had been charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving but was found not guilty of this
charge. A serial offender, Dyche had just finished his latest driving ban for driving whilst disqualified and uninsured when the crash occurred.
- Alexis Fleury, 25, a French motorist, was convicted of Causing Death by Careless Driving after killing David Crane, 61, by driving on the wrong side of the road in Kent last August. He had been charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, but pleaded not guilty to this and the lesser charge. He was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for three years. Despite his not guilty pleas, the judge said that he accepted that he was “genuinely remorseful”.
- Alexander Siu Kit Lee, 22, has been jailed for 16 months for causing the death of Michael Rustell, 50, by careless driving. Lee had become impatient in traffic and begun overtaking cars. He crashed into Rustell when he tried to overtake a lorry on a blind bend. Lee was also banned from driving for three years.
- Jade Clark, 16, was hit and killed by banned driver Brian Hampton in February. After he failed to stop at the scene of the collision, he tried to get his car repaired but was identified after police searched through over 1,000 motor vehicle records. He was jailed for two years for Causing Death by Careless Driving and four years for Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice, with sentences to run consecutively.
- No Justice for Hope
Almost 22 months after the collision which killed Hope Fennel, Darren Foster was jailed for six months, including two for Dangerous Driving and four for Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice. Foster had been speeding and texting before the collision with Hope. Whilst his lorry lay on top of Hope, who was crushed to death, Foster climbed back into the cab and tried to delete his text messages. He had initially pleaded guilty to Dangerous Driving but then sought to change his plea which greatly aggravated the suffering of Hope’s family. He eventually pleaded guilty and received a reduced sentence for this. Read more: http://roadpeacejusticewatch.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/no-justice-for-hope/.
- Justice for Jake
In a rare and welcome move, the CPS have decided to prosecute Paul Vowles for causing the death of Jake Thompson by careless driving. Jake was killed by a speeding lorry driver as he crossed at a pedestrian crossing. Initially there was no prosecution due to insufficient evidence but after a long campaign by the family, and following an IPCC investigation and new evidence, a charge was laid against the lorry driver.
- Ichhapal Bhamra, 54, hit cyclist Tom Ridgeway, 20, and carried him on his taxi for 90 metres before hitting a tree and killing Tom in Birmingham. But the CPS claimed there was not enough evidence to charge Bhamra with causing the crash. He pleaded guilty to Driving without Due Care and Attention in January 2013 and was fined just £35 and given three penalty points.
- Graham Godwin had been smoking marijuana and was speeding when he crashed his motorcycle into Paul Stock, a pedestrian. The police calculated Godwin’s speed at 42mph in a 30mph limit as he approached a traffic light, carrying a pillion passenger on his single seater bike. But the CPS said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Godwin with Causing Death by Careless Driving. Godwin, with 45 previous traffic offences, admitted Causing Death by Driving whilst disqualified in January 2013. He was jailed for 18 months, the maximum possible due to his guilty plea.
- Richard Bentham, 22, had been speeding for over 10 miles, up to 128mph, before he hit Dr Howells’ camper van at over 98mph. Dr Howells, 67, had recently retired as a university lecturer. Bentham was initially given a two year custodial sentence for Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. In a rare move, the Attorney General referred the case to the Court of
Appeal as being unduly lenient and it was increased to three years in January 2013.
- Jonathan Baird, 63, hit and killed Frank Mugisha, 41, as he cycled through a North London junction. Baird pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and was given a six month suspended jail sentence in February 2013. He was also banned from driving for three years, ordered to pay £500 costs and do 150 hours community service.
- Courtney Meppen-Walter, a Manchester City footballer, crashed into and killed brother and sister Kulwant Singh and Ravel Kaur after driving at 56mph in a 30mph in central Manchester. He pleaded guilty to Causing Death by Careless Driving I February 13 and was sentenced to 16 months in prison and banned from driving for three years.
- Collette Carpenter, 23, an off duty Dorset Special Constable, had her phone on loud speaker in her lap when she pulled out of side road and ran into motorcyclist David Bartholomew 54, who died two hours later. She initially and repeatedly lied about using her phone, although the police collision investigator stated that “the use of her mobile phone can only have been a distraction and has very likely contributed to her not seeing the motorcyclist”, the CPS said there was not enough evidence to charge Carpenter with causing Bartholomew’s death.
- Devon Newell, 33, smashed into a car and killed Wictoria Was, 13, as he fled the police in South London in January 2013. After pleading guilty to Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, Causing Serious injury, failing to stop, failing to report a collision, driving without a license and without insurance, he was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years prison in February 2013.
- Robert Beach, 36, lost control of his Porsche after driving it at speeds up to 50mph on a 30mph limit. He had taken Class C drug Phenazepam. He crashed on the wrong side of the road, killing his passenger and friend Marc Putnam, 30. Beach was charged with Causing Death by Careless Driving Whilst Under the Influence and given an interim disqualification. He stood trial in January 2013 and was sentenced to six years in jail.
- The Causing Death by Careless Driving charge against the lorry driver in Daniel Cox’s death on 2 February 2011 was dropped after the police realised that Daniel could have been in the driver’s blind spot. No charges were brought against the lorry driver despite the lorry missing a mirror and the driver’s admission of driving into the advanced stop zone, (and thereby blocking it for Dan), to get a better view of the junction.
- No charges were brought against the lorry driver in the crash that killed Svitlana Tereschenko on 11 November 2011, despite concerns that he had been distracted by using a mobile phone just before the crash.
- After much delay, including a last minute cancellation of an inquest, the CPS have decided to prosecute the lorry driver who ran over and killed Paula Jurek on 6 April 2011 in Camden. He has been charged with Causing Death by Careless Driving.
- David Heal was run over by a lorry in Central London on 22 December last year. Victim blaming was rife at his inquest, with the coroner Fiona Wilcox stating “The lorry was being driven as one would have expected. It was being driven slowly and did not mount the curb. I take the view that it was Mr Heals who collided into the lorry”.
- The driver of the lorry that ran over and killed Ellie Carey last 2 December has died from natural causes. Whilst the police had recommended a Charge of Causing Death by Careless Driving, the CPS did not formally charge the driver before he died. An inquest will now be held.
- For the crash that killed Brian Dorling on 24 October 2011, the lorry driver, who ran a red light, has been charged with Causing Death by Careless Driving.
- And outside London, in Bristol, a recent inquest into the death of Jake Thompson last May, ended with an accidental verdict, despite the family request for a narrative verdict. Although the police had determined that the lorry had been going at 38 miles per hour just before the collision (in a 30mph zone), the driver was not prosecuted for any offence.