7th Dec, 2016

Driver escapes jail after death of moped rider

Stratford Editorial 1st Aug, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A DRIVER who ploughed into the back of a young moped rider, throwing her 80 metres down the road and killing her instantly, has escaped being jailed.

After initially trying to blame innocent victim Emma Flatley for the collision, 23 year-old Ryan Ireland pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing her death by careless driving.

The 21-one-year-old teaching assistant died after being struck by Ireland’s Vauxhall Zafira as she was riding her moped on a dual-carriageway section of the A46 on October 28 last year.

Ireland of St Catherine’s Road, Evesham, was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.

Prosecutor Caroline Bray said the tragic collision took place as Emma, whose moped was limited to 30mph, was riding south on the dual carriageway between Oversley Mill and Salford Priors.

It was dusk, but although she was wearing dark clothes, she had a high-visibility belt and sash on, and the lights on the moped, which was properly position in the nearside lane, were on.

Ireland was driving his Zafira at 65-70mph, which was within the speed limit, heading in the same direction, and the driver in front of him pulled out to go past Emma – but Ireland did not

The collision report showed there was no attempt to avoid the collision, no attempt to move or to brake. It was only after he had struck her there was any braking.

Emma suffered traumatic injuries to her head, back and body, but it was a broken neck which caused her death.

Judge Andrew Lockhart commented: “Mercifully, she suffered little.”

Emma’s aunt Theresa Flatley read out a statement from her parents Vince and Sue, in which they spoke of their daughter’s ‘loyalty, honesty and selflessness.’

Lee Masters, defending, said Ireland was genuinely remorseful.

He added “The tragedy is that a young life has been cut short by the actions of Mr Ireland. It is quite inexplicable as to why he didn’t see her.

“He will have to live the rest of his life knowing he has cut short such a productive and promising life.”

Judge Lockhart, who had already rejected Ireland’s basis of plea that it had been the result of momentary inattention, said an aggravating feature was him trying to blame Emma by suggesting she had been weaving in and out.

Sentencing Ireland, Judge Lockhart told him: “Sadly, and you must carry through the rest of your life, you sought to persuade others she had moved out. You were seeking to say she was at fault. It was nasty and it was unpleasant.”

But he observed that Ireland had remained at the scene and tried to call the emergency services, and added: “I take the view that, looking at all matters in the round, the appropriate way to deal with it is to reduce the sentence to four months and suspend it.”