Woman jailed for causing death by dangerous driving - Houghton Regis

04/04/2012

A motorcyclist came round a bend at Houghton Regis to find a car on the wrong side of the road and in his path. A court heard Robert Allman could do nothing to avoid a collision and died shortly afterwards at the scene.

On Wednesday, 04 April 2012, the woman who had been behind the wheel of the Mercedes car that fateful Sunday morning, Magdalena Kecinska, appeared at Luton Crown Court. The Polish mother of two pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Michael Kay was told the collision occurred just after 9am on Sunday 24 July last year on the A5120 Bedford Road at the junction with Thorn Road, Houghton Regis.

Mr Allman, 58, a married father and grandfather was out on his motorbike that morning and the court heard he was an experienced rider.

Kevin Barry for the Crown Prosecution Service told the court how travelling along the A5120 that morning in a southerly direction towards Houghton Regis was Mrs Kecinska. She had her two daughters in the car as she approached the bend and the court was told that for some reason that she was unable to explain she was on the wrong side of the road.

A motorist travelling in his car behind the Mercedes even tooted his horn to alert her to the danger she posed.

Mr Barry said it was estimated that she was on the wrong side of the road for between 10 and 15 seconds and as she approached the 'blind bend'  she posed a clear hazard. Coming in the opposite direction was Mr Allman who lived in Houghton Regis. He was travelling between 38 and 44 miles per hour, which was well within the 60 mph speed limit for the road and, on entering the the bend, was suddenly met by the Mercedes in his path.

Mr Barry said that the defendant's car was travelling slowly between 14 and 18 miles per hour, but Mr Allman was unable to avoid colliding with it and died from the injuries he sustained.

"Mr Allman would have only had the defendant's Mercedes in his sight for a split second and would have had no time to take evasive action,"said the prosecutor.

The court was told that at the time of the crash Mrs Kecinska, 31, of Waterlow Road, Dunstable had only recently passed her driving test. She had lived in the UK for just over three and a half years and had never driven back in Poland.

Judge Kay was told that she and her two daughters had set out from their home that morning for a day trip to Alton Towers. It was to have been her first long drive since passing her test and she wanted to take a route and avoid the M1. But, the court heard her husband rang her on her mobile phone, which was answered by a daughter and as a result she turned back intending to return and collect him for the trip to Alton Towers.

On the A5120 at the time and heading north, she had stopped, completed a three point turn and then started to return home. However, for some reason, which she couldn't account for, she had then travelled on the wrong side of the road as she approached the bend.

Andrew Corcutt defending said: "She cannot find the words to express how desperately sorry she is for what has happened on this occasion."

He added: "She has a profound religious conviction herself and at all times in this case she accepted that what she did was wrong and has expressed her profound sorrow for it. She is ashamed of what she has one. She can't explain why it was that she was on the wrong side of the road on that occasion."

Passing sentence Judge Kay said: "For a reason you cannot give - nor can anyone else, once you had completed that U turn you began to travel on the wrong side of the road. You did so for about 10 to 15 seconds."

Judge Kay said nothing he could do could turn back the clock and ease the pain and loss suffered by Mr Allman's family. He said he accepted that Mrs Kecinska was a woman of faith who had shown considerable remorse and now bore the mental scars of that day along with Mr Allman's family.

He jailed her for 18 months, disqualified her from driving for three years and ordered that she must take an extended driving test before she can get behind the wheel of a car once more.

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