Jail threat to driver blamed for spiritualist’s death

Margaret Cowen
Margaret Cowen
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A DRIVER has been warned he could be jailed for causing the death of a spiritualist who was on her way to heal people.

Margaret Florence Cowen was going to Sunderland Spiritualist Church to take part in a special healing service when she was hit by a car driven by Lee Harrison.

The 88-year-old was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where she was treated for head and leg injuries.

She was released three weeks later and returned to her home in Westfield Grove, High Barnes, to recover. But on July 19 last year, paramedics were called her home, where she was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem examination showed Mrs Cowen, known as Peggy, may have died from injuries caused by the collision as she crossed Stockton Road, near Park Lane bus station.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Harrison, of Azalea Terrace South, Ashbrooke, admitted causing Mrs Cowen’s death by careless driving.

The 23-year-old’s punishment will be settled on Friday once a pre-sentence report has been prepared.

Granting him bail until then, Judge Guy Whitburn warned him a custodial sentence “cannot be ruled out”.

Family and friends described Mrs Cowan as “popular” and “fiercely independent” woman who was passionate about her hometown of Sunderland.

Her love of the city was so strong that when her husband James died three years ago, she refused to leave despite her daughter and two sons living elsewhere.

Mrs Cowen was involved in Sunderland Spiritualist Church and was also a registered healer.

She left behind three children and four grandchildren.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho