Death-crash trainer wins licence appeal

By Lisa CleverdonA RACEHORSE trainer jailed for causing death by dangerous driving has won an appeal to cut his road ban by six months.Jeff Pearce was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from driving for five years after the accident that killed head stable girl Cathy Marr, 30, in May 2001.

By Lisa Cleverdon

A RACEHORSE trainer jailed for causing death by dangerous driving has won an appeal to cut his road ban by six months.

Jeff Pearce was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from driving for five years after the accident that killed head stable girl Cathy Marr, 30, in May 2001.

Pearce, who runs a training stables yard in Old Station Road, Newmarket, was travelling back from a day at Newbury races with Miss Marr when he lost control of his Mercedes after overtaking along the A1304, near Six Mile Bottom, and crashed into a tree.

Miss Marr's mother, Maureen Simon, said last night that she did not feel anger towards Pearce, who had become a family friend during the 11 years that her daughter had worked for him.

"Six months off the ban does not really make that much difference - it is near enough," said Miss Simon, 58, of Wingate, County Durham.

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Pearce, 57, who admitted driving while under the influence of alcohol, suffered injuries to his ribs and back in the crash, and spent several weeks recovering in hospital.

He had an application for the early return of his driving licence rejected in January last year after a judge ruled he had not accepted full blame for the accident.

But at a hearing for a fresh application at Cambridge Crown Court last week, Pearce was given a six month reprieve, allowing him to start a driving course in September this year.

Miss Simon said: "I was pleased that he did not get the licence back straight away, but I do not think that it really matters now.

"The only thing I am upset about is the fact he has not tried to contact me since the accident. I would love to have the chance to meet with him face-to-face.

"I have no idea how I will react, but I would like the opportunity just to talk with him about what happened because I think it would help to put my mind at rest a little bit, and might make me feel a bit better about what happened."

Miss Simon said she planned to return to Newmarket Heath - where her daughter's ashes were scattered - on the anniversary of her death next month.

"I don't expect to have the chance to meet Jeff Pearce, but it would be nice, even after all this time," she added.

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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