Anger as crash driver is fined £250

FRESH calls have been made for a change in the law after a van driver who struck a teenage girl, plunging her through a brick wall and leaving her with horrific injuries, was fined just £250.

FRESH calls have been made for a change in the law after a van driver who struck a teenage girl, plunging her through a brick wall and leaving her with horrific injuries, was fined just £250.

Deborah Parkes, 17, almost died after she was hit by a Renault van driven by Daniel Clark as she walked to work in Red Lodge, near Newmarket, on November 17 last year.

Yesterday Clark, 30, from West Row, was fined £250, given six penalty points and ordered to pay £200 costs by Mildenhall magistrates after he was found guilty of driving without due care and attention.

Almost one year on from the accident which devastated their family, Deborah's parents, Simon and Wendy, said the verdict finally gave them “closure.”

Speaking outside court, Mr Parkes said: “I'm happy, we've got closure as a result of the judgement, to be honest though, if it had been guilty or not guilty it would not have mattered a great deal, it's just the fact that justice has been seen to be done.

“It would have been nice to have an apology, but obviously he (Clark) doesn't feel it's necessary. We can now forget about this part and move on with everything.”

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Deborah's grandmother Ivy Parkes described the sentence as “diabolical”. She said: “There is no justice. But at the end of the day it wouldn't have been any different for Deborah.

“They haven't taken into account what has happened to Deborah they are punishing him for a little thing really.”

Grandfather Peter Parkes added: “It breaks my heart to think of how bubbly she was and this verdict doesn't make it any easier to bear.”

The court was told how Clark had been driving along Turnpike Road on his way to his mother's house at around 7.45am, when a Ford Fiesta in front of him slowed down and without indicating turned right.

However, Clark had begun to overtake the car when both vehicles collided and his van skidded out of control, mounting the pavement on the opposite side of the road, hitting Deborah, who was thrown through a brick wall, landing seven metres beyond in a garden.

Clark had managed to steer the van back onto the correct side of the road where he stopped and ran back to tend Deborah, checking she was still alive and calling for an ambulance.

Pc Philip Payne, who investigated the accident, told magistrates test carried out by police showed that Clark had been travelling at between 56 and 69mph in a 40mph zone.

Clark admitted he may have been driving at more than 40 mph, which was borne out by the testimony of eye witness Steven Ranz, but denied he had been going any faster than 45-47mph.

Roger Harris, defending Clark, invited magistrates to cast serious doubt on whether Clark had been speeding, but delivering their verdict they said speed was not the overriding factor in the accident, but Clark's reaction to what the car in front was doing.

In June this year, Simon Bowyer, 32, the driver of the other car, admitted driving without due car and attention and was fined £200 and his licence was endorsed with nine penalty points.

Deborah suffered serious head and internal injuries and was not expected to survive during the early stages of her treatment.

Although still in a specialist treatment centre in Harrow, and not expected to return home until next summer, Mr Parkes said her progress had been “nothing short of remarkable” and he was incredibly proud of her fighting spirit.

She is now able to walk three steps, aided and to stand up to get into her wheelchair.

Families whose lives have been touched by tragic road death spoke of their upset at the case and said they would continue to fight for a change in the law.

John and Joan Osborne, of West Wratting, near Haverhill, are campaigning for a change in the law to give tougher penalties to drivers who kill and injure following the death of their son, Christopher, in a road accident.

Mrs Osborne said: “Cases like this upset us greatly, and only make us more determined to carry on with our campaign.”

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