Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Friday, 26 March 2010

Driver spared jail after Hertfordshire crash death

A woman who admitted causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving on a road in Hertfordshire has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Kenneth Lush, 47, of Ware, died when he was hit while cycling on the A414 between Hatfield and Hertford last May.

Debra Kelly, 38, of Tubbs Croft, Welwyn Garden City, who is due to give birth in six weeks' time, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court.

She was also ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.

Nothing I can say or any sentence I can pass will ever begin to reflect the ruin you have inflicted
Judge Andrew Bright QC

The court heard Kelly struck the businessman as he cycled home from work, sending him flying into the carriageway and his bike into the bushes.

Kelly's car overturned on the dual carriageway and ended up on the central reservation. She left the scene after getting a lift from a stranger in a van, but gave herself up to the police seven hours later, the court heard.

Kelly told the officers she had bumped her head in the accident and was hysterical. She said she had suffered panic attacks in the past.

'Innocent baby'

Defence barrister Liam Walker said there was no evidence to suggest Kelly had left the scene to avoid detection. He said she had told a probation officer that she had "ruined the Lush family's lives forever".

Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "Nothing I can say or any sentence I can pass will ever begin to reflect the ruin you have inflicted on the Lush family by your careless driving behind the wheel of your motor car.

"You are expecting a baby in a few weeks. If I send you to prison there is every chance you would give birth in the mother and baby unit at Holloway Prison.

"To inflict that indignity on an innocent baby is not in the public interest, though you richly deserve to go to prison."

Kelly was also banned from driving for 18 months, must take an extended test and pay £2,500 costs.



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