Driver who knocked down and killed Upton teen Imogen spared prison

A WOMAN who knocked down and killed an Upton teenager near the gates of her school has been spared jail.

Wednesday, 19th September 2012, 12:00 pm

Helen McLoughlin, 37, of Mill Close, Ackworth, was travelling at just 10-15mph in her Land Rover when she hit 15-year-old Imogen Young, a pupil at nearby Ackworth School, at around 4.15pm on October 10 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Imogen, who died from fatal brain injuries, was with her mother Sarah Bentham on the way to a singing lesson when the tragedy occurred at the junction of Station Road and Pontefract Road.

As the pair crossed the road, Mrs Bentham, who works at the school, reached a traffic island and heard a noise. She looked back and saw her daughter lying face down and bleeding in the road, having been hit by the defendant’s car.

John Bull, prosecuting, said McLoughlin, a nursery assistant and dinner lady, appeared to be in shock and told one witness, ‘I just didn’t see them’, and to another, ‘I’ve killed her. I didn’t even see her’.”

Imogen was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield and later transferred to Leeds General Infirmary but died from her injuries.

The prosecution said McLoughlin, who pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, said she stopped to allow traffic to pass on Pontefract Road and indicated before turning into Station Road.

Witnesses said they did not see her signal and believed she was continuously moving.

The accident investigator’s report said in spite of drizzly weather, the defendant should have had a clear view of Imogen for more than two seconds.

Simon Clegg, mitigating, said the mother-of-two could not express her remorse and regret to the teenager’s family and thought of 
them constantly.

He said: “This was a terrible and tragic accident and the defendant was guilty of the sort of lapse of concentration and momentary inattention that many motorists commit often with no consequences, but sadly in this case it had the worst of all consequences.”

McLoughlin was given a one-year community order with 200 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.

Sentencing her, Judge Simon Hickey, said he accepted her regret and remorse was genuine and references showed she was of “impeccable character”. He added: “You, like Imogen’s mother and family, will have to live with this for the rest of your life.”

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