Driver spared jail after tragic crash

A JUDGE has told a man who crashed and killed a great grandmother that he was powerless to jail him - despite wanting to.

A JUDGE has told a man who crashed and killed a great grandmother that he was powerless to jail him - despite wanting to.

Millie Butcher had been out shopping with friends in Colchester for a harvest festival and was heading to church when a van being driven by David Ross lost control and smashed into the Nissan Micra that she was travelling in.

The 87-year-old was rushed to Colchester General Hospital and her family stayed at her bedside for six days before she died.

Delivery driver Ross, of Great Oak Court, Great Yeldham, had gone onto the wrong side of Mile End Road after coming round a corner.

The 38-year-old appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court yesterday and was banned from the roads for two years after he pleaded guilty to careless driving and a second count of having defective brakes on September 28 last year.

Andrew Martin, prosecuting, said Ross' white Vauxhall van was heading in the opposite direction as he returned to Witham when it failed to negotiate a left hand bend and went into the path of the Micra.

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The Micra was shoved backwards and hit a trailer that was parked at the side of the road.

District Judge David Cooper said his “hands were tied” when it came to sentencing Ross.

“Because of careless driving and your negligence, you put an end to the life of a wonderful woman who may have been 87, but was quite clearly a pillar of the community.

“Had I got the power I would have sent you to prison, but so far the power is not there.”

He sentenced Ross to 200 hours community service, banned him from driving for two years and ordered him to pay £60 costs.

“You can make up, in a small way, for what happened by serving the community, as indeed she did for the whole of her life,” he said.

James O'Toole, mitigating, said: “He is devastated by what has happened. He is extremely sorry for what has occurred and will have to live with this for the rest of his life.”

The court was read a letter from Mrs Butcher's family which described her as a “wonderful lady” and a “big part of our lives”.

The Colchester pensioner was also active in raising funds for the church community and enjoyed playing bowls.

Speaking afterwards Ross said: “I regret the whole thing. There is nothing I can say, just that I am sorry.”

Mrs Butcher's family declined to comment afterwards.

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