Fatal crash amputee wishes she died and taxi passenger survived, court hears

The scene of the collision on the A134 at Barnham Picture: ARCHANT

The scene of the collision on the A134 at Barnham Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A woman who lost her leg in a head-on collision which killed a blind taxi passenger has been fined for causing her death by careless driving.

Helen Lovegrove, who died in a car crash on the A134 at Barnham Picture: CAROLINE VINCENT

Helen Lovegrove, who died in a car crash on the A134 at Barnham Picture: CAROLINE VINCENT - Credit: Archant

Abbie King appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in a wheelchair on Tuesday to admit killing 47-year-old Helen Lovegrove when her Vauxhall Corsa collided with a Skoda Octavia on the A134 at Barnham, near Thetford, earlier this year.

The 23-year-old former childcare officer’s left leg was amputated below the knee while she was in a six-week coma after losing control of the vehicle at about 10.45am on Thursday, May 17.

Miss Lovegrove was declared dead at the scene, where King was anaesthetised for her injuries, which included a broken back and serious internal organ damage.

Prosecutor David Bryant said Miss Lovegrove was being driven to visit her parents – who were reliant on their daughter – by Thetford taxi driver Mike Hume, who escaped the collision with cuts, bruising and a head injury.


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He said the nearside of King’s Corsa momentarily drifted off the tarmac before the vehicle swerved into the opposite lane.

Mr Hume later described Miss Lovegrove as a “lovely person”, who he came to known as a friend over seven years of custom since her arrival in Thetford from Horsham, West Sussex.

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Rob Pollington, mitigating, said King’s driving was nothing close to being considered dangerous.

“It took place in a matter of two seconds,” he added.

“This particular stretch of road had no rumble strips to alert drivers – just grass and soil.

“There was a loss of traction, which led to an increase in revs and the car entering the wrong side of the road. It started to correct, but not quickly enough.”

Mr Pollington said King, of Harold Whitby Close, Dereham, had been driving to the bank, having secured a reserve on a first home with her partner.

“As acute as the knowledge she has taken another person’s life, is the notion of being a burden on her mother and father,” he added.

“She lost everything but her life – and that haunts her. There hasn’t been an occasion when she didn’t wish it had been her.”

Magistrates said they could not punish King any more than she had punished herself.

Taking into account her inability to carry out unpaid work in the community, they fined her £320 and disqualified her from driving for 12 months.

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