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Birkenhead lorry driver's jail term increased over mother's death

William Stewart / Natalie Thorpe Image copyright BBC/Facebook
Image caption William Stewart ignored a warning alarm that sounded before Natalie Thorpe, 29, was struck

A lorry driver who killed a mother by driving dangerously has had his jail sentence increased to seven years.

Natalie Thorpe, 29, died when she was hit by a metal stabiliser protruding from the side of William Stewart's truck in Altrincham in June 2015.

Stewart, 25, was "let off too lightly" with a four-and-a-half year sentence after a trial at Preston Crown Court, judges at the Court of Appeal ruled.

His sentence for causing death by dangerous driving was "unduly lenient".

'Dangerous weapon'

Stewart, of Cross Heys Avenue, Birkenhead, was driving a Ford Iveco with the metal stabiliser extended at the side of his vehicle in Dunham Road on 4 June 2015.

It demolished a traffic light before hitting Ms Thorpe as she stood at the pedestrian crossing.

The lorry then struck a Volkswagen Golf that was waiting at the junction.

The court was told an alarm system in Stewart's cab could be heard by pedestrians in the area.

The alarm, intended to warn the driver about the dangerously extended outrigger, was ignored by Stewart.

Image copyright Altrincham Today
Image caption An alarm system in Stewart's cab could be heard by pedestrians in the area

Ms Thorpe's 12-year-old son is now being looked after by his grandmother, and her death has had a "devastating impact" on her family, the appeal court heard.

Lord Justice Davis said Stewart was guilty of "indolent indifference" for the safety of others, adding: "He just didn't care."

"He simply couldn't be bothered to secure [the outrigger arms] to spare himself some time and personal inconvenience."

He said: "This was a shocking case of dangerous driving, a heavy goods vehicle is in effect a very dangerous weapon."

The sentence of four-and-a-half years was "far too light", he concluded, and the "least justifiable sentence, after a trial, was seven years".

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