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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Car park death drive ban upheld by Carlisle judge

A woman who killed a 78-year-old man by reversing over him in a hospital car park has failed in her bid to get a driving ban suspended.

Jill Stamper photo
Jill Stamper

Jill Stamper, 75, of Blencarn, near Penrith, was handed a two-year disqualification last month.

She had been found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving while parking at Birbeck Medical Centre, next to Penrith Hospital, on January 16 last year.

Stamper did not check her mirrors while she was reversing and hit Thomas Thompson, 78, with her Suzuki Swift. He had banged on Stamper’s roof but this caused her to panic and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. Mr Thompson died instantly after suffering multiple injuries.

Stamper has appealed her conviction and sentence.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court yesterday she applied for both to be suspended pending this appeal.

Stamper’s solicitor, Robin Ford, told the court she suffered from multiple sclerosis, a neurological condition, and lived in an isolated, rural area with little public transport.

He said: “It would be unjust and unfair to remove anyone’s ability to drive in circumstances where there is a possibility an order could be overturned.”

Mr Ford added that before the incident Stamper had passed an extended driving test – required because of her condition – and had been a careful driver in the past. Stamper had also been put under a 16-week electronically monitored curfew as a result of her crime.

Security firm G4S also appeared in court and informed District Judge Gerald Chalk, presiding, of problems with fitting the electronic tag because of her medical condition. This was due to swelling around her ankle and past injuries to her wrists.

Mr Ford said: “What it appears G4S is saying is that they don’t think it is a workable solution.”

Prosecutor Andy Travis read out several statements from members of Mr Thompson’s family in relation to the appeal.

One, from Mr Thompson’s widow, Shirley, said: “Anyone with any remorse or sympathy would never get behind the wheel of a car again.”

Another, from his daughter, Christine Raffel, stated: “I feel a 24-month driving ban is a small price to pay for the loss of our dad.”

However, Mr Chalk, who also presided over the original trial in January, told the court these would not influence his decision.

“I reject the application,” he said in response to both and did not expand on this.

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