Death by careless driving teenager walks free from court
By mattcollison | Friday, September 21, 2012, 18:36
A YOUNG driver who knocked down and killed a Guildford pensioner soon after passing her driving test has walked free from court.
Abby Frost, 19, struck an 85-year-old man whilst driving in Guildford.
Abby Frost, 19, of Long Gore, Godalming, was aged 18 when she struck 85-year-old William 'Tommy' Etherington in North Street, Guildford last year while driving her grandmother's car.
She denied a charge of death by careless driving and faced a prison sentence after a jury of seven found her guilty.
Mr Etherington, who lived in the Bellfields area of Guildford, was a grenadier guard during World War Two and had been described as "full of life". He died in St George's Hospital, Tooting, six days after being struck by the car driven by Miss Frost on May 13, 2011.
Returning to Guildford Crown Court on Friday (September 21) for sentencing, the court heard how Miss Frost misjudged the time it would take the pensioner to cross the road, which had market stalls along one side of the road.
Miss Frost was travelling at 24mph when she hit the pensioner crossing the road.
Judge Michael Addison said: "You saw him start to cross the road and you might have thought that he would stop or that he would walk quickly and get by in front of you.
"The fact was that you misjudged the situation and you struck him before he reached the further kerb and he died as a result of the collision.
"You drove carelessly for that short space of time with a disastrous result."
Peter Binder, defending, said: "It was a misjudgement on her part, but it was a misjudgement of a newly qualified driver and there is a complete absence of any aggravating features." She had not been using a mobile phone and had not been under the influence of alcohol when the accident happened.
Mr Binder continued: "This young woman is from a respectable background, a hard working member of the community,of previous good character who has already paid a very high personal price indeed for what took part on that day."
The court heard Mr Etherington could have used a neaby pedestrian crossing but chose not to.
A statement issued to the court by Mr Etherington's family said how they sought justice but were not out for revenge and did not want to see Miss Frost sent to prison for what she had done.
Judge Addison sentenced Miss Frost to an 18 months community order with 200 hours unpaid work.
She has been disqualified from driving for 12 months and will have to retake an extended driving test before being allowed to drive again.