Manslaughter probe over Earls Barton crash

Mrs Joanna Smith
Image caption Police said the crash was caused by a deliberately-punctured tyre

A crash that killed a woman in Northamptonshire was caused by one of her car's tyres being "deliberately punctured", police said.

Pharmacist Joanna Smith, 32, was driving a black Honda Jazz on 10 April when she lost control and hit a road sign, on the A45 near Earls Barton.

Police said the death was being treated as manslaughter.

A force spokesman said Mrs Smith was thought to have been the victim of "senseless vandalism".

Mrs Smith, from Northampton, was thought to have been unaware her car had been tampered with when she travelled to work in Irchester.

'Very serious outcome'

Det Ch Insp Martin Kinchin said: "Our collision investigation team established that it was likely that tyre failure caused a loss of control of the car.

"The tyres from Joanna's car were then sent to scientists who are specialists in the examination of tyres, who concluded that one of them had been deliberately punctured."

After the crash, officers found three other vehicles parked close to the Honda, in a communal car park near Mrs Smith's home, in Grange Park, had also been damaged around the same time.

Mr Kinchin said: "Although we do not believe the person who damaged Joanna's car set out to cause her death, their actions had a very serious outcome.

"Anyone committing this kind of crime needs to stop and think about the potential consequences of their actions.

"We believe someone knows who the offender is and would ask them to think about the impact Joanna's death has had on her family and friends, and ask them to give us any information they may have."

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