Woman, 20, guilty of killing grandfather in head-on crash
A 20-year-old woman has been convicted of causing the death of a grandfather by careless driving and warned not to assume she will avoid jail.
Emily Doyle-Gibbons was at the wheel of her Ford Fiesta when she lost control and careered across the carriageway into Malcolm Aplin’s Vauxhall Corsa, which was travelling in the opposite direction in South Staffordshire.
The 59-year-old care home owner from Tettenhall, who leaves behind five children and five grandchildren, went into cardiac arrest after suffering ‘catastrophic ‘ injuries in the head-on smash at Port Lane between Codsall and Brewood around 4.15pm on June 25 last year.
Doyle-Gibbons was found guilty by a 10-2 majority verdict yesterday afternoon and was told by Judge James Burbidge QC, who adjourned sentencing until September 24: “Do not take it into your mind that you will avoid a custodial sentence. I shall keep an open mind.”
She was given an immediate driving ban, the length of which will be decided at the next hearing.
Mr Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told the jury during the Wolverhampton Crown Court trial that ‘for whatever reason’ the ‘significant collision’ between the two vehicles was caused by her inattention.
He continued: “She drove across the carriageway and collided with Mr Aplin. He was undertaking an entirely unremarkable drive.”
Eye-witness Michael Hayward said in a statement read to the court that immediately after the impact "the girl was screaming ‘help me, get me out.’"
He added: “She started to try and get out of the car, however, she was convinced by us to stay in the driver’s seat.
“The collision was caused as a result of the silver car [Ford Fiesta] travelling towards me, being in the wrong lane. The car in front of me [Vauxhall Corsa] was totally not to blame.”
The defendant, of Warren Drive, Dudley, tried to blame a defect with her car’s shock absorber - which was leaking fluid - for the fatal collision, but Mr Spratt maintained this was ‘not responsible or a significant contributor’ to the tragedy.
The defendant, who spent 15 days in hospital after suffering fractures to her foot and pelvis in the crash, had been driving for 18 months at the time and had a clean licence.
She had been driving at up to the 60 mph limit on the road while on her way to meet a friend for a pub meal in Brewood and denied being distracted. She was running late for the meal, the court heard.
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