Woman jailed for causing crash which left Peterborough boy (3) orphaned

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Friday 11.20am; A woman who caused a crash which killed a married couple from Peterborough leaving their child orphaned has been jailed at court.

Debra Weston (41), from Canver Close, Nottingham, was locked up for 12 months at Peterborough Crown Court for being to blame for the crash which killed Stephen and Samantha Durber, of Princes Road, Fletton, Peterborough.

Debra Jane Weston arriving today at Peterborough Crown Court. Picture by Terry Harris / i-Images IIM-9419

Debra Jane Weston arriving today at Peterborough Crown Court. Picture by Terry Harris / i-Images IIM-9419

The crash happened on the A47 near Sacrewell Farm on August 25 2013.

Weston was driving a Land Rover Discovery, which collided with the Ford Focus which was carrying Stephen (30), Samantha (27) and their three year old son Lucas.

Lucas suffered serious injuries in the crash, and was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for treatment for head injuries and two broken legs.

Weston pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving at a hearing at Peterborough Crown Court in January.

Along with the jail term she was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Speaking outside court David Durber, Stephen’s brother, said: “We believe justice has been served. We would like to thank the East Anglian Air Ambulance, police and fire services and everyone who attended the scene of the accident.

“We would also like to thank Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Stephen and Samantha’s employers and the communities of Peterborough and Nottingham who have given us tremendous support.”

Sentencing, Judge Sean Enright said: “It is clear that Stephen and Samantha were a happy and hard working couple known for their sound principals and sense of fun. They were good parents. Nothing that I can say can capture the essence of this couple and the tragic and enduring loss to their family and son.

“I hope that no member of the family will hear the sentence I pass today and say - well is that the value that society places on our loved ones?

“Because it is not. This defendant has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving - not dangerous driving - and I am required to consider and apply case law and guidance sanctioned by law. In particular I need to balance the culpability of the defendant, which is low, and the tragic consequences which resulted.”

The court was told witnesses travelling on the A47 at the time of the crash saw the Land Rover swerve towards the wrong side of the road, before ‘fishtailing’ as Weston tried to regain control of the car.

However, the Land Rover collided with the Ford, sending the Focus into the air.

Both Stephen and Samantha Durber were pronounced dead at the scene, while Weston suffered a broken ankle, and her teenage son, a passenger in the Discovery, suffered a broken leg.

PC Kevin Drury from the Roads Policing Unit, said Lucas, now aged four and a half, was recovering well. He said: “Lucas sustained some very severe injuries at the time, he is now making a full recovery, walking and speaking again. He is now attending school, and so he has more or less made a full recovery at this stage.”

Richard Clews, defending, told the court: “The first thing to say is this is a terrible and heart rendering tragedy for everyone concerned with the case.

“Debra Weston wishes there was something I could say to make it better but I fear there is not. She is extremely sorry.”

He added:” She has always been at a loss to explain what happened.

“For no apparent reason the rear of the car started to shake and swerve.

“All she did was what she thought was necessary to put the vehicle onto the correct course.”

He said the car was a tall, narrow vehicle with off road tyres on, and once she lost control there was a ‘degree of inevitability’ about the crash.

Following the crash the community rallied round Lucas, and a fundraising day was held to support him in the future.

He was also presented with the Child of Courage Award at the 2014 Pride of Peterborough Awards.

Related:

Woman’s guilty pleas over A47 crash which killed parents of brave Lucas