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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 19:38 GMT
Train death motorist is sentenced
Richard Isted
A "lengthy" community service order was imposed on Richard Isted
A man whose careless driving caused an accident which killed a miniature railway train driver has been sentenced to 150 hours' community service.

Richard Isted, 22, of Richmond Drive, New Romney, Kent had pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention in the accident on 10 July 2005.

The woman who died, Suzanne Martin, was the wife of the general manager of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

Ashford magistrates said the accident was a tragedy for all concerned.

We hope that what has happened has shown people they have got to be extremely careful when they cross our crossings
Peter Rothschild

The court had heard Isted failed to see flashing warning lights at the Battery Road level crossing, in Lydd, and drove on to the railway line.

Mrs Martin's train collided with his car and derailed.

Unemployed Isted was told the court had no choice but to impose a lengthy community service order because of the serious consequences of his actions.

After the hearing, Mrs Martin's sister Karen Park said "Suzanne is much loved and will always be missed.

"We are all still heartbroken and will be for the rest of our lives.

"Mr Isted also has to live with this for the rest of his life."

Mrs Martin was the second driver to be killed on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

Suzanne Martin
Suzanne Martin was the wife of the railway's general manager

Kevin Crouch, 31, from south-east London, died following a collision with a car in August 2003.

Marie Scrace, 23, was later found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

The railway owners are currently installing barriers on all its level crossings, but work is not expected to be completed before next autumn.

"We hope that what has happened in court today has shown people that they have got to be extremely careful when they cross our crossings," said spokesman Peter Rothschild.

"We are doing our very best to minimise the accidents but even these barriers are not the final answer."

Isted was also given nine points on his licence and ordered to pay 565 costs but his licence, which had been suspended pending the hearing, was reinstated.



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