Driver Paul Shadbolt admits causing death of Jeanette Shaw in crash near Pepper Hill in Northfleet
A driver caused the death of an elderly woman on her way to church after he lost control of his car and ended up on the wrong side of a carriageway, a court heard.
Jeanette Shaw, 73, was a passenger in a car with two friends when the tragedy happened on the A2 near the Pepper Hill junction in Gravesend.
Paul Shadbolt, of Fawkham Close, Fawkham, admitted causing death by careless driving.
The scene of the crash at Pepperhill on the A2. Picture: @SeanAsh28
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 30-year-old was driving his Vauxhall Corsa with his girlfriend Niamh Morrow in the front passenger seat when the accident happened on Sunday June 2 last year.
The other car, a Honda Jazz, was driven by Christine Ryan. Valerie Gauci was in the front passenger seat and the victim was sitting behind them.
Prosecutor Tom Dunn said Shadbolt was driving on the London-bound carriageway of the A2 and intended to exit at the Pepper Hill junction.
But he left it at the last moment and as he went onto the slip road lost control and crossed to the opposite carriageway and collided almost head-on with the other car.
Mr Dunn said Jeanette Shaw was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other women in the car were seriously injured and needed hospital treatment.
Scene of the accident at the A2 slip road at Pepper Hill
Christine Ryan had 12 fractured ribs and a broken collarbone. Valerie Gauci suffered a shattered kneecap, a broken wrist, nine fractured ribs and a cracked sternum.
“Christine Ryan said she was going on to the A2 at Northfleet,” said Mr Dunn. “She described the other car coming off the A2 and ‘just flying at me’.”
She added: “I thought it was a Range Rover because he was so high up. I shouted at Valerie and then at Jeanette and I knew she was gone.”
Valier Gauci said: “I shouted Jesus! We are all Christians on our way to church. I heard someone saying to Chris: ‘Are you all right? I heard someone say: ‘There is no pulse'.”
A police accident expert said there was no way of assessing Shadbolt’s speed at the time.
Tyre tracks can be seen at the accident site
Shadbolt was up to be sentenced, but Judge Martin Joy adjourned until February 14 to hear evidence about the basis of plea put forward, which was not accepted by the prosecution.
Judge Joy said it seemed to him the case could not be dealt with on the basis put forward.
"Quite plainly, it would appear the driver was going too fast" - Judge Martin Joy
“Quite plainly, it would appear the driver was going too fast,” he said. “Whether it was so fast it falls not far short of dangerous driving is a matter that needs to be decided.
“It is very important to know how this accident occurred. We will have to hear how it stands up to examination.”
The judge told Shadbolt: “I do not want you to have any illusions about this. I have an open mind. You must not think I have in any way any view, because I haven’t heard the evidence.”
Bail was continued.
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