Education boss 'reversed up slip road'

THE former principal of West Suffolk College has escaped a driving ban after admitting careless driving.Nicholas Foster, who is now the director of the Learning and Skills Council in the East of England, reversed his car up a slip road leading to the A14 after seeing that traffic was at a standstill on the road ahead following an accident.

THE former principal of West Suffolk College has escaped a driving ban after admitting careless driving.

Nicholas Foster, who is now the director of the Learning and Skills Council in the East of England, reversed his car up a slip road leading to the A14 after seeing that traffic was at a standstill on the road ahead following an accident.

Three police officers who were travelling from Stowmarket to Elmswell police station noticed that 60-year-old Foster was using a mobile telephone as he carried out the manoeuvre, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Foster, of Shelland, near Stowmarket was on his way to a meeting in Newmarket where he was due to give a talk to 70 people at the time of the incident on January 29, said Ian Pells, prosecuting,


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Foster initially face a charge of dangerous driving but yesterday his guilty plea to a less serious offence of careless driving was accepted by the prosecution.

Foster was fined £400 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £15. His licence was endorsed with six penalty points.

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Judge John Devaux said he did not consider it necessary to ban Foster from driving.

Mr Pells said the careless driving happened on a slip road leading from the A1088 on to the A14 after Foster spotted that traffic on the A14 was at a standstill following an accident.

The three police officers who witnessed the incident saw Foster holding a mobile telephone to his ear as he reversed his Audi 20 to 30 yards back up the slip road.

At one stage another vehicle had turned on to the slip road and Foster had come to a halt before continuing the manoeuvre, said Mr Pells.

When Foster was stopped by the police, he said: “I was an idiot and I'm very sorry.”

He said he had been on his way to Newmarket to give a talk when he had spotted the traffic jam on the A14. At about the same time he had received a message on his mobile telephone from his area manager telling him that she was stuck in a traffic jam on the Haughley bends and was running late for the same meeting.

Stephen Dyble, for Foster, said his client had a clean driving licence and was engaged in the provision of educational services on behalf of the Government.

“He foolishly made a bad decision to reverse 20-30 yards back to the entrance of the slip road,” said Mr Dyble.

“It was a bad decision but one that many motorists faced with the same situation could have made,” he added.

Foster and the Learning and Skills Council in the East of England declined to comment after the case.

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