Clenchwarton motorist fined £90 for crash which killed seven-year-old boy while on her mobile phone
PUBLISHED: 13:05 27 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:32 27 May 2016
A West Norfolk motorist who knocked down and killed a seven-year-old boy while talking on her mobile phone was fined just £90 and given five points on her driving licence.
Road safety campaigners have branded the sentencing of Amy Asker an “insult” to the family of schoolboy Seth Dixon. But the schoolboy’s family now say they have forgiven her.
He died from head injuries after he was hit by Ms Asker’s green Ford Mondeo as he crossed a road outside his home near Wisbech in 2014.
Ms Asker, 33, was fined £90 after admitting a charge of careless driving rather than the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving when she appeared before magistrates in August 2015.
She was also ordered to pay a £20 victims’ surcharge and £80 costs.
And on Wednesday an inquest into Seth’s death heard that Ms Asker had been talking on the phone to a friend using its loud speaker when she hit Seth – known as Smiler.
Alice Bailey, campaigns adviser for road safety charity Brake, condemned the sentence handed to her.
She said: “We’re calling on the government to make all phone use in vehicles illegal.”
Details of the case were revealed at an inquest in Boston on Wednesday.
It heard that Seth was crossing the road outside his home in Tydd Gote, near Wisbech, to post a letter when the tragedy occurred on December 5, 2014.
The coroner heard that Ms Asker claimed she hadn’t seen Seth and only became aware of him on impact.
The inquest heard that she was on the phone at the time - and a number of calls made on her phone had been deleted after the crash.
She claimed she had no idea how that calls had disappeared and said her mobile had been placed in the pocket of the driver’s door on loud speaker when the collision happened.
Asker, of Clenchwarton, near King’s Lynn, was driving her car at around 27mph in a 30mph zone at the time.
Giving evidence to the coroner, she said: “I did not see him. I could not do anything. I had my side lights on as it was beginning to get dark.
“My phone was on speaker phone as I had no hands-free in the car.
“I do not think my driving was impaired by being on the phone.”
PC Mark Brown said: “Amy made and received seven calls while driving from her mum’s in Leverton.”
Senior Coroner for south Lincolnshire Paul Cooper recorded a narrative conclusion and said: “I believe her using the phone while driving contributed to the child’s death.”
Speaking after the inquest, Seth’s mother Alice Husband, 42, said she hoped her son’s death would come as a strong warning to drivers not to use their phones behind the wheel.
She said: “People need to realise it takes a split second for something like this to happen but it will stick with you for a lifetime.”
Asked whether she believes Ms Asker should have been handed a stronger sentence, she said: “She will be serving a sentence in her own mind for the rest of her life.
“No prison sentence would change that or make her feel any worse.
“All it would do is separate another mother from her children and those children should not be the ones to suffer.”
Mrs Husband said she had “forgiven” Ms Asker for making an “innocent mistake”.
She said: “I don’t blame her (Asker) for what happened, It was an innocent mistake that led to tragic circumstances.
“I’ve forgiven her and I want to remember Seth for the smiley, happy, much loved little boy that he was.”
Seth was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, following the collision but died as a result of head injuries two weeks later on December 19, 2014.