Corby Glen driver accused of causing fatal crash faces re-trial
A 67-year-old woman accused of causing the death by careless driving faces a re-trial after a jury failed to reach a verdict.
Judith Ward, of Swinstead Road, Corby Glen, had denied causing the death of Richard Newbold, 60, by driving a silver Kia Sportage Index carelessly on the A151 Station Road at Corby Glen.
A jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard three days of evidence but was discharged after failing to reach a verdict following two days of deliberations.
Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said the Crown Prosecution Service would seek a re-trial.
The jury heard the collision occurred as Mrs Ward turned right towards Corby Glen from the Swayfield junction at about 12.15pm on August 9, 2020.
Mr Newbold, from Long Eaton, was on a BMW motorcycle travelling with a group of bikers who were travelling in the opposite direction, the jury was told.
Witnesses described Mrs Ward accelerating slowly out of the junction.
The prosecution alleged Mrs Ward was trying to join the main A151 carriageway when it was inappropriate and unsafe to do so.
However, Ward said Mr Newbold's motorbike was still out of sight beyond the crest of a hill when she completed her final look right and satisfied herself the road was clear.
In his closing speech, defence barrister Richard Dawson said it was agreed that the "start up time" for Ward to begin her manoeuvre was between two and three seconds once she had completed her final checks. It would then take a further three to four seconds to the point of impact.
"In one sense it doesn't sound a long time until you count two or three seconds," Mr Dawson urged the jury.
Mr Dawson also asked the jury to consider the evidence of a defence expert about where the motorbike was when Ward made her decision to pull out, and the account from one of the bikers, Liam Reilly.
"He said they accelerated up the hill at speeds of about 70mph, and Richard Newbold was about 100 yards from the junction when the car began to emerge, and it emerged slowly," Mr Dawson added.
Mr Dawson said if the speed of 70mph was correct it would put the motorbike just 157 metres away from Ward and take five seconds to cover that distance.
"Both experts agree Judith Ward is unlikely to have noticed the motorbike until it's headlight came over the crest of the hill," Mr Dawson said.
"When Mrs Ward completed her checks the motorbike may have been out of view."
Mr Dawson said Ward must have also continued looking right as she continued her manouvre as she noticed the motorcycle "swaying or wobbling."
"This was a tragic accident with catastrophic consequences," Mr Dawson claimed. "But it was that, an accident."
At the scene of the crash Mrs Ward told a witness that it was clear left and right before she pulled out, and insisted that she looked left and right because she knew the road has a dip in it, the jury heard.
Ward also told a police officer at the scene that she didn't see anything after she looked left and right, and was careful because she knew the junction had a view of a blind bend and the crest of a hill.
During the account Ward said she pulled out and only then saw the motorbike coming.
In both accounts at the scene Mrs Ward made no mention of an oncoming car.
The jury heard Ward was interviewed by police three weeks after the collision on September 3, 2020.
During that interview Ward said having looked to her right she saw a car coming, and then a motorbike coming from behind the car.
Lincolnshire Police collision investigator Godfrey Barlow told the jury it was not possible to calculate the speed of Mr Newbold's motorbike.
He estimated it would have taken between 3.14 and 4.01 seconds for Mrs Ward to start pulling out and reach the point of impact with the motorbike.
Mr Barlow told the jury: "I believe the motorcycle would have been in view at the point she pulled out the junction."
The jury heard there was evidence that the group of bikers were travelling above the 60mph speed limit, and that Mr Newbold swerved before the collision.
Ward was granted unconditional bail until a date is fixed for her re-trial.