Woman pleads guilty to causing the death of an elderly woman

07/08/2015

A 43 year old woman has pleaded guilty to causing the death of an elderly woman by backing her car out into the path of a passing car.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Victoria Stuart was backing her BMW car out of the driveway of a house in Birkenhead Road, Wirral, at around 11.55am on Saturday 26 April.

A car being driven by Joanne McCombe and carrying her mum, Donna McCombe and her grandmother, 77 year old Joan Vivienne Blackburn, was passing and slowed down.

But the BMW then stopped so Ms McCombe continued to drive past. Stuart then continued to back out of the drive and her BMW hit the side of the passing car.

The impact activated the seat belt locking mechanism on all of the passengers in the car, as the mechanism is designed to do. Mrs Blackburn immediately felt unwell and was taken by ambulance to hospital where she later died.

It emerged that Mrs Blackburn had been suffering from cancer and had an enlarged spleen. This had been affected by the pressure of the seatbelt on impact.

Gary Simpson, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said:

"This is a tragic case.

"In 2012, Mrs Blackburn had been diagnosed with cancer and given only 11 months to live. However, she continued to have a good quality of life and on the day of her death was still well enough to take trips out with friends and relatives.

"Due to the cancer she had an enlarged spleen. The impact of the collision on her side of the car and the locking of the seat belts had aggravated the enlarged spleen causing her death. But for her cancer, in all likelihood she would not have died.

"It's unclear why Stuart continued to back out of the driveway after stopping but the consequences were clearly a tragedy for all concerned, particularly the family of Mrs Blackburn."

Stuart pleaded guilty on the day her trial was due to begin to causing death by careless driving. She received a 12 month community order, was banned from driving for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours community work.