Pensioner admits causing fatal crash in Axminster

PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 September 2017

Marguerite Christine Chapman has pleaded guilty to causing a crash in Axminster in which Helen Case (pictured) died. Image: Google Maps.

Marguerite Christine Chapman has pleaded guilty to causing a crash in Axminster in which Helen Case (pictured) died. Image: Google Maps.

Archant

Marguerite Christine Chapman pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving following an accident in Lyme Road, Axminster, on November 15, 2016.

A pensioner who had a ‘momentary lapse’ of concentration and crashed her car, causing fatal injuries to a woman in an oncoming vehicle, has appeared in court.

Marguerite Christine Chapman was charged with causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving following an accident in Lyme Road, Axminster, on November 15, 2016.

The 80-year-old appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to the offence.

The case has now been sent to Exeter Crown Court where her mitigation will be heard on October 24.

The court heard Chapman, of Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis, was driving a blue Ford Mondeo towards Lyme Regis at about 4pm.

Prosecuting, Lynsey Baker said a witness saw Chapman’s car drift to the left before straightening up and then a minute later drift again, hitting a barrier and pinball at a right angle across the road.

She added the Mondeo then collided with a silver Kia coming from the other direction, causing it to spin 180 degrees and go down an embankment off the road.

Ms Baker said the driver of the car, Helen Case, was left with injuries which proved to be fatal while her husband John, who was in the passenger seat, was left with seven broken ribs, severe shock and enlarged bowels.

Examinations showed there were no mechanical problems with either of the cars which could have caused the incident, and that the defendant’s phone records showed she had not been using her phone while driving.

The court heard Chapman, who passed her test more than 60 years ago and has driven daily since, was travelling at around 30mph in a 60mph zone, but had a momentary lapse of attention and had fallen into a ‘micro-sleep’.

The bench was also told the defendant had voluntarily given up her licence in December and never planned to get behind the wheel again.

Magistrates sent the case to crown court where Chapman’s mitigation will be heard before she is sentenced.

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