A DRIVER who caused the deaths of two sisters when he overtook a line of traffic approaching a bend was today (Monday) jailed for three years.
Contract cleaner Robin Settle, 56, was on the wrong side of the road when he crashed into an oncoming car driven by Pamela Moore, 82.
Mrs Moore, of Grosvenor Mews, Billingborough, and her sister Eileen Williams, 83, from Stafford, were cut from the wreckage on Bridge End Causeway on the A52 at Donington but later died in hospital.
Lincoln Crown Court heard the two sisters were returning from an evening playing bingo with front seat passenger, Barbara Walton, who also suffered a broken sternum and internal bleeding during the collision in October, last year.
Settle was returning to Boston from his work in Grantham when he overtook a line of three cars as he approached a sweeping left hand bend, the court was told.
Chris Lowe, said, prosecuting, said one of the cars braked to allow Settle the chance to pull in behind a lorry but he continued to overtake even when Mrs Moore’s headlights appeared.
“Other road users and independent witnesses described it as incredibly dangerous,” Mr Lowe added.
“The view around that bend was severely restricted by the curvature of the road and the growth of foliage on the verges.
“Instinctively Mrs Moore swerved to the left and slightly onto the verge, but she could do nothing to avoid what followed, a near head-on collision.”
Settle suffered a serious leg injury in the crash and could not be questioned until November 24 when he admitted overtaking but told police he was on his own side of the road when the crash happened.
In a statement which was read out in court Mrs Moore’s son, Stephen, said: “Our father was killed in an accident 28 years ago, now our mum, both before their time.”
He added: “Mum was the heart of the family.”
In her statement Barbara Walton revealed that her son, Michael, was the first firefighter on the scene of the crash. Mrs Walton said: “The first thing he said to me was ‘Mum’.”
Alan Wheetman, mitigating, said Settle genuinely believed he had pulled in to the correct side of the road, but having seen an accident report he now accepted that must be wrong.
Mr Wheetman added that speeding was not a factor. “It is a mystery this case, he was not in a hurry.”
Settle, of Cherry Walk, Boston, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving on October 28, last year. He was jailed for three years, banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended retest.
Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath made it clear Mrs Moore was in no way to blame for the collision.
“This was no way for these two elderly ladies to end their lives,” Judge Heath told the packed court.
“The view of the bend was severely restricted. His decision to overtake was dangerous and clearly dangerous to those at the scene. Somebody described it as incredibly dangerous.”
In a statement released after the hearing the family said: “Mr Settle showed no respect and total disregard to other road users, this sentence needs to be a warning to other road users.
“Mr Settle’s sentence will be his punishment but for us it will not change a thing. As a family we know all too well from past experience that our sentence will go on an awful lot longer.”