Leicester

'Cannabis mum' from Leicester was a private investigator

Anastasia James (right holding a folder)
Image caption Anastasia James (right) denies two charges of causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs

A mother accused of killing her daughter and a teenager in a crash while under the influence of cannabis was a private investigator, Leicester Crown Court heard.

The court was told Anastasia James, 37, smoked the drug before the crash on the M1 in Leicestershire in January 2014.

Daughter Destiny James-Keeling, 14, and Megan Marchant, 18, died when Mrs James's vehicle came off the motorway at 70mph and struck a tree.

Mrs James denies all charges.

Giving evidence, Mrs James, of Thornton Close, Braunstone, Leicester, told jurors she had switched from using cannabis to a legal high because of her job as a private investigator.

Mrs James - who received stitches to a head wound after the crash - denied smoking anything on the day of the collision and instead blamed her car.

"I just remember going straight and then this feeling of pulling," Mrs James said.

"That's the point where I was really holding on tight to the wheel - it was just like a wobbly sensation. I couldn't actually stop it from pulling to the right.

Image caption Megan Marchant (left) and daughter Destiny James-Keeling (right) died in the crash

"The car was making this clopping sound - everything felt different to how it was. The wheel flew out of my hands. I just couldn't understand why all of a sudden it was pulling."

Mrs James, who has previously been involved in drug education and has a degree in youth and community development, told the court she did not feel "impaired" before the crash.

She told prosecutor Michael Evans QC she was "shocked" at evidence which showed she had not tried to brake.

Mrs James, who was convicted of possessing cannabis in 2000, denies two counts of causing death by careless driving when unfit through drugs.

The trial continues.

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