Pensioner pleads guilty to causing serious injury to several school children by dangerous driving

10/06/2016

A pensioner has pleaded guilty to seriously injuring five schoolgirls in a crash outside Belvedere Academy in Liverpool.

Norma Stokes, 80, of Booker Avenue, Allerton, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to five charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The incident happened around 3.20pm on February 12 2016, near the entrance to the Toxteth school. The pensioner's Peugeot car mounted the kerb and travelled 120 metres along the pavement.  The car hit the group of schoolgirls, who were aged between 11 and 16.

The girls suffered a variety of injuries one needed treatment for a brain injury. Others suffered broken arms, leg injuries and facial cuts. Some needed surgery.

Mrs Stokes' car had to be lifted as one of the injured pupils' had her leg trapped under it. Emergency services arrived and the injured were taken to hospital.

Shortly after the incident, Mrs Stokes handed in her driving licence to police.

The court heard that Mrs Stokes had been to the doctor's in the lead up to the incident. She'd had injections of cortisone, containing anaesthetic, to both knees.

She was waiting to turn right at the junction of Peel Street and Belvidere Road, near the school.  The traffic at the time was very heavy as school had just finished and the pupils were leaving.

Mrs Stokes turned right onto Belvidere Road; she overtook slow moving traffic and collided with a bollard on a splitter island.

Her car then went to the left and mounted the pavement behind three stationary coaches. Her car then went to the right and along the pavement between the coaches and the school railings.

It collided with a total of eight school girls, causing serious injury to five of them.  It also caused damage to two of the coaches, ripping off the nearside door of one of them. The car finally came to a stop after hitting another two vehicles.

Mrs Stokes was given a two year suspended jail term for each of the five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to run concurrently. The sentence is suspended for two years. She was also disqualified from driving for life.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Jeremy Decker of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: "This is a very sad case for all concerned.

"These children suffered some serious injuries and many are still struggling to recover fully from the incident.

"On the other hand Mrs Stokes has so far led a blameless life with no previous convictions for anything.

"She has clearly also been badly affected by what happened on that day. She has handed in her driving licence and has pleaded guilty at a very early stage of the case.

"Mrs Stokes lost control of her car on that day and the results were certainly very serious.  It was clearly in the public interest for the Crown Prosecution Service to bring this case to court."