Wisbech lorry driver deserved a two year driving ban following the death of a 75 year old woman, judges have ruled

Court report

Court report - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech lorry driver, given a two year driving ban over the death of a 75 year old woman in a road crash, was not given a “manifestly excessive sentence,” top judges have ruled.

Lloyd Russell, 54, was handed a 26-week suspended sentence at Peterborough Crown Court in December last year.

He was also hit with a driving ban after he admitted causing the death of 75-year-old Margaret James by his careless driving.

Mrs James, of Kirton, near Boston, died on January 20 2013 following a crash nearly two weeks earlier on the Fletton Parkway, in Peterborough.

She was a passenger in a Mazda car driven by her husband, Anthony James, which span off the road and into a tree after it was struck by Russell’s HGV.

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“The collision caused Mr James to lose control of his car, climbing a grass verge and striking a tree,” Mr Justice Nicol told London’s Appeal Court today.

Mr James was unhurt, but his wife was treated for neck injuries after being cut free from the couple’s vehicle.

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She was initially discharged home from hospital, said the judge, but her condition rapidly deteriorated in subsequent days and a fractured spine was y diagnosed.

Russell pleaded guilty on the basis that the Mazda was “hidden from view” as it was in his blind spot.

But he admitted “failing to take sufficient steps to check for the car’s presence on the road” before the calamity.

He also conceded that “the manner of his driving was a cause of her death” although not the primary cause.

Russell, of Main Road, Wisbech, appealed his two-year disqualification, urging the court to consider the devastating impact on his work and livelihood.

Mr Justice Nicol, sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Judge Simon Tonking, noted Russell’s clear remorse.

But the judge also pointed to the “massive effects” of Mrs James’ death on her grieving family.

Despite his anguish, Mr James had said that he forgave the lorry driver “as he knew his wife would have done.”

“That was a particularly generous act on his part,” the appeal judge observed.

But Lloyd’s careless driving deserved a “long period of disqualification” and the judge concluded: “This was not a manifestly excessive sentence.”

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