Wales

M4 crash woman who killed husband spared jail

Pony Abraham junction, M4 Image copyright Google
Image caption The Pont Abraham junction comes at the western end of the M4

A woman whose husband died after she drove their car into a line of traffic on the M4 has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Sandra Amos, 74, from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, had been driving for about 10 hours when she "ploughed into the vehicle ahead".

Royston Amos, 82, appeared unharmed at first, but he had suffered multiple injuries and died later in hospital.

Amos had refused an offer of a lift from her husband's daughter that day.

Swansea Crown Court heard the couple had set out on 7 January to attend a funeral in Canterbury, Kent, 270 miles (435km) from their home.

However they decided to turn back after getting lost near Slough, Berkshire, and were approaching the Pont Abraham roundabout at junction 49 of the M4.

'Distracted'

The court heard traffic came to a halt, but Amos did not stop and ran into a Renault van, which in turn hit a Citroen.

The van driver suffered a bleed to the brain and concussion, and the Citroen driver suffered whiplash.

Prosecuting, Stephen Rees said: "There was no evidence of her braking prior to the incident, and no tyre marks on the road following an investigation."

He said the two hypotheses behind the crash were either Amos had become tired, or distracted by a conversation with her husband or by the radio.

Amos had told police she did not have enough time to avoid hitting the van, and denied feeling tired on the journey home, saying she would have stopped if she had.

Amos had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Llanelli Magistrates' Court last month.

'No lessons learned'

Defending, Anna Midgely said the crash had caused divisions between family members and asked for Amos not to be disqualified from driving because it would leave her isolated.

Judge Paul Thomas said dashcam footage appeared to show Amos had "ploughed into the vehicle ahead without seeing it", adding: "The fact you don't see any deficiencies in your driving seems to me as though no lessons have been learned."

He sentenced her to 32 weeks prison, suspended for 12 months, and banned her from driving for 12 months.

Beverley Mancini, Mr Amos's daughter, said in a victim impact statement she knew her stepmother was not capable of driving to the funeral, adding: "The worst thing is this would not have happened if I'd been allowed to drive him that day."

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