A grieving woman who caused a fatal head-on collision when she drifted into the opposite carriageway killing a motorcyclist escaped a jail sentence at Lincoln Crown Court today (Thursday September 10).
Katherine Howe, who was on her first journey out following the death of her mother, momentarily lost attention as she drove along the A1104 at Well near Alford.
Her Mini car drifted just over the centre-white line and headed straight into the path of Nathan Askew,23, who lived in the village of Swaby , was on his way to Alford.
The court heard that Howe’s mother had died less than a fortnight earlier and she was travelling to Boston to arrange for her mum’s wedding ring to be altered so that she could wear it herself.
Andrew Vout, prosecuting, said “The death of Nathan Askew was caused by this defendant’s driving.
“This was a straightforward and easy stretch of road to drive along. There is nothing to suggest that the road conditions, the weather or the two vehicles involved in the accident were in any way a contributing factor to what happened.
“She was driving along a stretch of road that is almost straight. Mr Askew was riding his motorcycle in the opposite direction. The motorcycle was being ridden entirely correctly.
“Neither vehicle was being driven at any excessive speed. The vehicle being driven by this defendant veered partially into the wrong side of the carriageway and into the path of Nathan Askew. It was a head-on collision. There was considerable force. Mr Askew was thrown from the bike and suffered an injury that killed him immediately.”
Howe was later unable to offer any explanation as to why the collision happened.
The court was told that Nathan’s mum Carol Askew and his sister Natalie have been left devastated by his death. Nathan’s father passed away four years ago.
Howe, 50, of Harps Bridge Lane, Theddlethorpe, admitted causing death by careless driving as a result of the fatal collision on the morning of 4 October 2014. She was given a 12 month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for a year.
Judge John Pini QC, in passing sentence, told Howe “You probably should not have been driving that day. Your mother had died only nine days before. I have little doubt you were preoccupied with thoughts of her.
“The prosecution accept and I agree that this is a case of momentary inattention. The sentencing guidelines make clear that where the level of carelessness is low and consists of momentary inattention even the fact that death has been caused is not sufficient to justify a prison sentence.”
Matthew Gent, defending, said “Mrs Howe is incredibly sorry for what happened. She is wracked with guilt and full of genuine remorse. She struggles to cope with the terrible effect that this has had on Nathan Askew’s friends and family.
“In terms of her explanation she cannot give one. She has no recollection of seeing Mr Askew and she has no recollection of why her vehicle ended up where it did.
“She had just lost her mother. She was on her way to have her mother’s wedding ring adjusted. It was her first time out after her mother’s death and the funeral was a few days later.