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Personal stories
Kate Doyle
Kate Doyle, fatally injured 30 May 1995


Kate Doyle
"Where to begin? It will be nine years this May since my only beloved and cherished daughter Kate was knocked down on a zebra crossing in Bristol.

She was the victim of a hit and run driver, who it turned out had been banned from driving on 29th March 1995, just two months prior to the crash. Kate died five days later from injuries to the brain. We agreed to the life support machine being switched off.

We were told by the policeman dealing with our case that, “whoever had done this would go down for a long time”. In the event we were informed about 10 days before the court case (Magistrates Court) that charges relating to the manner of driving were being dropped as they felt they had insufficient evidence.

No mention was made of Kate’s death in the court – just the words “…and you were in collision with a Miss Doyle”. I was so angry that I stood up and objected – I was threatened with contempt of court and the case adjourned for three weeks for reports.

When the court had been adjourned for sentencing I rushed in and sat in the Clerk’s chair and refused to move till I got justice. About 10 or so policemen came in and threatened to arrest me and told me I would be escorted from the court, so would not be present at the sentencing.

The defendant was sentenced to six months prison for road traffic offences only – driving whilst banned, failing to stop, failing to report a crash; no penalties for no insurance and no MOT.

After nine years the impact continues to reverberate. Our grief and cataclysmic loss has affected each of us. My husband and I sold our restaurant at a considerable loss because I could no longer cope with the demands it made of me.

My son, who was 21 at the time, was diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress syndrome, and has suffered with severe depression. He has found it particularly difficult to come to terms with the great, great sense of injustice and has lost any respect for the law.

My husband and I have decided to go our different ways, after 37 years together. Our relationship has been broken by the impact - especially the toll of dealing with the injustice, which has made our loss even more unbearable.

Kate was 24 – a law graduate hoping to specialise in family law. She was our joy, the light of our life, so loved, so kind, so loving."

Sarah Doyle, Kate's mother.
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