Careless driver smoking cannabis caused 87-year-old's death in crash

Bronnagh Brannigan was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Callum Brankin has been jailed at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A newly-qualified driver who caused the death of an 87-year-old woman by careless driving had been smoking cannabis and was driving “well in excess” of the 30mph speed limit at the time crash, a court has heard.

Jailing 23-year-old Callum Brankin for 25 months, Judge David Pugh said he had only passed his driving test a few weeks before the fatal crash and had been driving his Mini Cooper knowing the rear brake pads needed replacing.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Brankin had been driving along the A131 at Mount Hill, Halstead at 11.30am on October 12 2019 when he lost control of his car on a shallow bend and collided with an oncoming Nissan Micra, driven by Barbara Bragg.

Despite the efforts of members of the public who rushed to her aid, Mrs Bragg died from her injuries in hospital the next day and Brankin was also seriously injured.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said that at the time of the collision, the road surface was wet.

Following the collision, Brankin was found to be over the drug-drive limit for cannabis. Text messages were found on his phone telling him he had to stop smoking cannabis before and while he was at work.

An examination of his car found that the rear brake discs needed replacing, with one pad worn down to the metal.

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However, investigators found the state of the brakes had not contributed to the collision and blamed Brankin’s loss of control on the bend on his driving inexperience and excessive speed, said Mr Crimp.

He said police found new brake pads, which had been purchased by a Brankin a few days before the collision, in the boot of the car.

Brankin, of Oxford Meadows, Sible Hedingham, admitted causing the death of Mrs Bragg by careless driving while over the drug-drive limit.

In addition to being jailed, Brankin was banned him from driving for 36 and a half months.

Jude Durr, for Brankin, said his client was 21 at the time of the crash and had no previous convictions.

He said  Brankin had purchased new brake pads for his car four days before the crash.

He said there was no evidence of prolonged bad driving, racing, persistent speeding or dangerous overtaking or undertaking before the collision.

Mr Durr said the fatal crash had been an “overwhelming" event in Brankin’s life and he had not driven since the crash.

He said Brankin had suicidal thoughts since the crash and wished that it was him who had died.

He said his client felt genuine remorse for what happened and wished to apologise to Mrs Bragg’s family. 

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