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‘Think twice’ before using hands-free devices at the wheel, say police

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Police are pleading with motorists to resist the urge to talk on hands-free devices following a fatal collision involving a distracted driver

Police are urging motorists to “think twice” following the conviction of a woman for causing death by dangerous driving while she was talking hands-free on a mobile phone.

Samantha Ayres, 34, of West Street, Horncastle, Lincs., collided head-on with a motorcycle while she was in the middle of a hands-free call. The rider, 26-year-old David Kirk, from Lincoln, died at the scene.

Lincolnshire Police temporary inspector of the serious collision investigation unit Ewan Gell told the Press Association: “Anything that distracts you from that singular act of driving, you should put it away to one side and think ‘I’m not going to do that until I’ve finished what I’m doing’.”

He added: “If you want to talk to somebody, want to use a mobile device or mess about with your music – in fact, anything that distracts you from doing the task in hand of driving – you should think twice about.

“We will investigate every single aspect of a crash and if that turns up, as it did in this case, evidence of a prolonged conversation and you can link that to the cause of the crash, that’s when a lot of people are going to have a problem.”

It was revealed that Ayres, a teaching assistant, had drifted across on to the other side of Baumber Road, Horsington, when the crash happened. She had been on a phone call for 27 minutes.

(Lincolnshire Police)
(Lincolnshire Police)

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She was found guilty on November 29, 2017, of causing death by dangerous driving, and was sentenced today (December 6) at Lincolnshire Crown Court to three years in prison. She was also handed a four-and-a-half-year disqualification from driving.

Ayres denied prosecution claims of distracted driving, saying hitting a pothole or rut had caused her to lose control of her Ford Fiesta – although investigators found no evidence of this.

A statement from Mr Kirk’s family read: “The 7th of November 2016 changed so many lives. We lost a wonderful man, a loving husband, son, brother and the most caring father [David’s daughter] Alyssa could have wished for.”

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It continued: “People say time heals, but we all wake up every morning with the same pain we felt the day it happened, hoping it was a horrible nightmare and then having to go through another day without seeing David’s cheeky smile or hearing his voice.

“Time does not heal – we as a family are just learning how to hide our true emotions and the heartache this has caused.”

At sentencing, Judge John Pini QC said: “No words are adequate to describe the profound sense of shock, desolation, pain and loss that will remain with Mr Kirk’s family forever.

“For him to lose his life in this way is as irrational as it is unfair. Nothing I say can turn the clock back. No sentence will ever begin to make amends for his death.”

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