A DRIVER who killed a pensioner, when she caused a crash while “adjusting her hair” in the rear view mirror, has lost her bid for freedom.
Rachael Forster, of Belle Vue Villas, East Boldon, did not see a stationary van waiting to turn right ahead of her on an a road near Honnington, Lincolnshire, despite it being in her sight for more than 300 metres.
The 23-year-old reacted at just five feet away, and “moved violently to the right” into the path of an oncoming car.
Other drivers at the scene later reported to the police that she “seemed to be adjusting her hair.”
And that she had been “looking intermittently into the mirror.”
Forster admitted causing death by careless driving on September 29, 2011, and was jailed for 12 months and disqualified from driving for two years.
But yesterday she asked Lord Justice Hooper, Mr Justice Simon and Mrs Justice Cox, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to free her from prison.
The court heard mother-of-two Ann Wallace, 65, of Belton Lane, Grantham, a passenger in the other car, was killed, while her partner John Brummitt, 70, suffered catastrophic injuries.
Two of their friends were also seriously injured.
Forster also suffered grave injuries, including fractures to both legs and her spine, and is still using crutches behind bars.
Those injuries formed the basis of her lawyers’ arguments in the Appeal Court.
They pleaded that she ought to be freed because her time in jail is more arduous than normal because of her condition, and also submitted that she would be able to access better medical treatment if released.
It was also said that she had shown “strong feelings of guilt, shame and remorse from the earliest stage.”
However, Lord Justice Hooper, delivering the court’s judgement, dismissed her appeal.
“This was a significant lapse of concentration,” he said. “It was not simply a momentary lapse.”
The driver behind Forster had told the police that she was “looking intermittently in the mirror and seemed to be adjusting her hair” immediately prior to the crash, the judge said.
He went on: “She failed to react in time to the presence of the van in front. Her reaction then was to try to swerve to avoid it.
“The sentencing judge gave careful consideration to all the factors, and we do not consider that it can be said that the sentence of 12 months imprisonment in this case was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.”