Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Motorist loses crash death appeal

Finlay Woods
Finlay Woods was in his pushchair outside a school in east London

A motorist who was drunk when she hit and killed a 15-month-old boy in his pushchair has lost her appeal against her seven-year sentence.

Katie Gutierrez-Perez, 41, had also taken 14 sleeping tablets in a failed suicide attempt when she hit Finlay Woods in Chingford, east London.

She was jailed in January at Snaresbrook Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving in 2008.

The Court of Appeal threw out the mother-of-two's case on Friday.

Gutierrez-Perez was in the dock of the court to hear the ruling. She had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Financial difficulties

But Lord Justice Aikens, who said the "facts of this tragic case are chilling", announced that the sentence imposed was "absolutely correct" - it was neither wrong in principle nor manifestly excessive.

She was driving to hospital after a failed suicide attempt, the original trial heard.

Map showing location of crash

She was one-and-a-half times above the legal alcohol limit and had also taken 14 sleeping tablets in an effort to kill herself after she got into financial difficulties following the break-up of her 18-year marriage.

Moments before the crash in September last year, a car tax inspector had tried to stop her driving the vehicle.

The inspector found Gutierrez-Perez's car was declared off the road and also discovered her rear tyre was dangerously low on pressure.

But while he called for a tow truck, she sped off, having changed her mind about suicide for the sake of her two teenage children and decided to drive herself to hospital for treatment.

After the Appeal Court hearing, Finlay's mother Tina Woods, 32, of Highams Park, east London, said: "Only three months into her original sentence she applied for weekend release, which was granted.

'No excuse'

"Then in April we found out that she had decided to appeal against her sentence.

"Since that time we have lived with the anguish that the woman who had taken our precious son away from us quite clearly feels no remorse."

Mrs Woods, who gave birth to a baby boy named Rafferty in July, added: "Perhaps you could call what happened that day an accident, an unfortunate event that wasn't planned, but that's too simple, too easy to dismiss.

"Finn was killed by a drunk and drug-fuelled driver who should never have been behind the wheel of a car.

"There can be no acceptable excuse for this."

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