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Texting driver avoids jail term
A successful dentist who mowed down and killed a pedestrian while texting on her phone has wept as she escaped a jail sentence.
Divorced mother-of-one Kay Nolan, 45, wrote the text in a layby but then pulled out on to a busy A road and hit her victim seconds after pressing send, a "momentary" error with tragic consequences, Preston Crown Court heard.
Nolan hit the brake in her Honda Jazz and swerved but struck Stuart Mather, 60, who had been crossing the A6068 in Higham, near Burnley, Lancashire, while out walking his Scottish Terrier dog, Hamish.
Mr Mather was thrown into the air and landed in the carriageway where he was run over by a second car. Nolan herself desperately gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before her victim was air-lifted to the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Mr Mather was pronounced dead on arrival. The dog also died.
Described as "popular, well thought off" and an "asset to the community" Nolan was on her way home to Thornton-in-Craven, near Skipton, North Yorkshire from her practice in Padiham, near Burnley, Lancs when the accident happened on June 6, last year.
She sobbed and wailed in anguish as she stood in the dock awaiting sentence after admitting causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.
Nolan, who had never even had a point on her driving licence before, now suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder and is having counselling, her lawyer told the court. But Mr Justice Singh said he could spare the defendant jail mainly on the basis that if she went into custody there was no-one to care for her elderly mother and her 12-year-old daughter.
Passing sentence he gave Nolan a 40-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.
He told the defendant: "This is truly a tragic and sad death. It can be said that this was a short distraction, albeit one you should not have engaged in because it was in itself an unlawful act. What I do regard as a critical factor in this case, and allows it to be regarded as one, that there is exceptional mitigation, is that you are the single mother of a 12-year-old daughter for whom you have sole carer responsibility."
Nolan must also do 150 hours community service, go on a victim awareness course and keep a 7am to 7pm curfew, the judge ordered.