Published: 10:00, 15 June 2015
A 30-stone Ashford woman motorist has been found guilty of causing the death of a jogger by driving dangerously.
After three days of deliberation, the jury found Linda Jenns guilty of killing Ashford man Paul Stinton, 45, after being accused of driving through a red light.
But the 49-year-old's barrister Ian Bridge pleaded with the judge not to jail the “morbidly obese” Jenns, of Richborough Way, because she couldn’t cope with life behind bars.
He said she had a stroke seven years ago and at the time of the crash was receiving treatment for her weight problem.
Mr Bridge said she had lost between five and six stone and was hoping for a gastric band to be fitted which would have increased her life expectancy quite dramatically.
“As it is she is grossly overweight, morbidly obese and since the incident has put on even more weight.
“She is a person for whom a prison sentence would be extraordinarily difficult and I don’t think I exaggerate when I say she might not get through it.”
Judge Heather Norton adjourned sentence for two weeks pending medical reports and granted her bail.
But she warned Jenns that she faced “an almost certain” jail sentence for the offence – and also gave her an interim driving ban.
The jury had heard evidence from a number of of motorists and shoppers waiting near a retail park in Simone Weil Avenue on a wet winter’s day in January 2014.
One of them, Debbie Lange told Canterbury Crown Court: “I was sitting talking with my daughter when a grey van came hurtling past my car in the outside lane of the dual carriageway.
“It shook my car which made me look up and it went through the red light. Two seconds later a white car came past at speed and straight through the red traffic light.”
The prosecution said the white Ford Kuga car was driven by Jenns, who had denied the offence..
Mrs Lange told the jury: “I then noticed something flying up in the air. I wasn’t sure what it was until I saw some arms and legs.
“I said to my daughter: “My goodness, did you see that? I realised then it was a person. I hadn’t seen him before but I had noticed that there were some people at the lights waiting to cross.”
Prosecutor Simon Taylor told the jury – which had been reduced to 11 after a juror recognised one of the witnesses – said some of the people who had seen the incident estimated Jenns’ speed at up to 70 mph.
But he said the Crown accepted that expert evidence indicated that Jenns was travelling at within the 40 mph speed limit.
“We say that she drove at a speed which was too fast for the road conditions or contrary to traffic signals on the traffic lights.
“It is the Crown’s case that it was the driving as a whole which fell far below the standards of a competent and careful driver.”
Mr Stinton was taken to hospital by Air Ambulance suffering from head, chest, neck and abdominal injuries and died three weeks later.
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