Stotfold driver involved in fatal crash fails to overturn 10-year driving ban

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson - Credit: Archant

A driver from Stotfold who killed a teacher after he jumped a red light has failed to overturn the 10-year driving ban imposed on him, because he “presents a real risk” for road users.

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson - Credit: Archant

The red light had already been showing for four seconds when Paul Austin, 57, of Stotfold, hit Tracey Wilson with his delivery van as she crossed Hornsey High Street in 2018.

Tracey, a 55-year-old mother who worked as a child protection officer, at City of London Academy Islington, died of head injuries and extensive internal injuries in hospital two days later.

Austin pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, and was given a six month sentence suspended for two years, with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement, plus 200 hours of community service and a 10-year driving ban at the Old Bailey on January 2.

At the time Tracey’s family complained “the justice system had failed them” when Austin avoided an immediate prison term.

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They were devastated to hear this week that Austin - who has previous convictions for driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving without insurance and driving whilst disqualified - was appealing the driving ban.

At a hearing at the Criminal Appeal Court today, Austin’s barrister Alex Stein said his client was “truly sorry for the pain and suffering he has caused”, but argued the 10 year disqualification was “disproportionate” for the offence.

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“It would appear it was committed when he was feeling stressed and late to meet his friend,” he said.

“His attention may have been taken by flashing lights on the dashboard which contributed to him taking his eyes off the road.

“He passed through a red traffic light but it doesn’t appear to be characteristic of him.

“He now has a heightened awareness of the risks when driving.” he added.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Fulford described the “tragic circumstances of the case”.

“She [Tracey] was from a close knit family, with one adult son and a two-year-old grandson and extended family, and she was held in high regard by her work colleagues,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the sudden loss of her life has devastated the many people who knew her.”

He added: “It is concerning the applicant maintains he was distracted in part because of a device fitted in his van which was recording the quality of his driving and the fact he was running late.

“We find it difficult to understand why that should have resulted in his taking his eyes of the road for the not insignificant period of time.

“The circumstances of the fatal road accident combined with his historical offences, and the PDST (post traumatic stress disorder) issues means he presents a real risk for others on the road to justify this unusually long period of disqualification for causing death by inconsiderate driving.”

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