A District judge said a woman who allowed a drunken man to drive her car causing the tragic death of a Mansfield mum must share some blame for how the hit and run unfolded.
There were emotional scenes at Mansfield Magistrates Court this morning when the grieving family of Sarah Redfern heard how James Stafford who ran into her with a Citroen car had been allowed to drive it drunk and without insurance.
Karis Ashley Dean, pleaded guilty to using a vehicle when there was not an insurance policy in force on Haddon Road on 2nd August last year.
Dean, 27 of Ladybrook Lane, did not appear in court and pleaded guilty through her solicitor after her initial not guilty plea when the case was opened on 16th April.
James Stafford had been drunk and without insurance when he drove the car at speed and hit Sarah Redfern and two others.
District Judge Diane Baker was told Dean had been in the car with five other people and was sat in someone’s lap on the back seat.
Stafford had carried on driving and the group left Sarah lying with fatal injuries.
The court heard Dean, who did not normally drink, had gone out with friends in Mansfield Town Centre on the night of the accident.
She was insured to drive the car she had been given on a disability scheme as she suffered from osteoporosis, cystic fibrosis, liver disease and diabetes.
She left the car at Toothill Lane and went to various bars in the town with her friends.
Dean did not have a bag or pocket so she had left her car keys with friends.
During the evening Dean recalled being upset and distressed but could not remember why.
When she had later been shown CCTV video evidence she had been shocked to see her car in Wilkinson’s car park being driven by Stafford.
Some kind of argument had taken place at that time, a group of people got into the car which was driven away by Stafford and the collision had occured.
She said she struggled to understand how she had ended up in the vehicle.
After the collision took place the people in the car had been shouting and asking for the vehicle to stop but Stafford had carried on driving.
Dean said she realised something ‘really bad’ had happened, but she was told the people who had been hit were OK.
She had realised Stafford had no insurance and he had made comments to her about not contacting the authorities.
Dean had then gone to a friends house in a taxi where she made a telephone call to the police telling them who the driver was and where the car could be found.
She was later arrested.
Dean said she had been badly emotionally affected following the crash,she had overdosed on insulin and now had to see a psychiatrist. The event had left her unable to spend Christmas with her family.
But Dean acknowledged the effect of the tragedy on herself was nothing compared to the devastation to Sarah Redfern’s family and friends.
District Judge Diane Baker fined Dean £455, disqualified her from driving for 18 months, with £150 costs and £45 victim surcharge.
She said: “I am allowed to raise the financial penalty because of the very tragic death.
“I think the culpability is so much higher because she significantly failed in her duty as a road user not to let anybody else use that vehicle.
“She must take responsibility for being present in that vehicle when Mr Stafford was clearly driving when he had far too much to drink, even though she had been drinking herself.
“She did not report the matter immediately, she did not stop at the scene and support Miss Redfern who was clearly very critically injured even at that stage.
“She is not charged with those matters, they are aggravating factors on the no insurance.”
The judge told family members in court: “I know that is extremely difficult for members of the family to correlate this with the loss of someone they love and miss desperately.”
Outside following the case Sara Redfern’s father Gary said: “This is all one big farce.
“There were all those people in that car and none of them called the police at the time.
“It took her two hours to call them.
“There is no justice at all in my opinion - they have got off Scot free.”