An interior decorator who left a motorcyclist dead and his wife badly injured was today jailed.
Therese Langley, 57, from Snodland, wept as she was sent to prison for two years after admitting she caused the death of Rochester father-of-two Lee Saunders, 48, by driving dangerously.
The motorcycle burst into flames after the crash on the A252 at Chilham near Canterbury in April last year, which was caused when Langley's red Vauxhall Zafira did a u-turn across white lines, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Mum-of-four Langley, of Birling Road, also admitted causing serious injury to Mr Saunders’ wife Tina, 43, who had been riding as a pillion passenger.
Today, Judge Heather Norton told Langley: “I accept that you have shown genuine grief and remorse for what happened but the consequences for the Saunders family have been devastating.
“And I would be failing in my duty if I didn’t send you immediately to prison.
“You made a bad decision in making a u-turn and however much everyone would like to turn back the clocks, we can’t.”
Prosecutor Paul Valder said the crash happened as Langley’s car had stopped by the side of the A252.
He said: “What she did was perform a u-turn from a layby across solid and dotted white lines, which was a brief but obvious danger.
“The car went straight across the road and blocked the lane and stopped at right angles facing the hedge on the other side of the road.
“Mr Saunders, who was riding his Triumph Tiger, went to go past on the wrong side of the road around the front of the vehicle but he did not have enough time to manoeuvre."
His friend, motorbike enthusiast Bryan Church, from Gravesend, later told police: “Mr Saunders hit the brakes and skidded - and bang”.
Mr Church, who was riding in convoy, said he saw Tina being thrown up and over her husband.
“She missed the roof of the car but her body caught the side. She flipped in the air like a ragdoll and landed in the middle of the road."
Mr Valder added: “Tina remembers nothing of the accident save for lying in the road and being unable to breathe.
“She was taken by air ambulance to King’s College Hospital.
“She sustained extensive injuries, predominantly to her left side, including fracture to the neck of the femur, fractures to the left arm, fractures to the pelvis, fracture to the base of the spine, multiple fractures to the ribs and collapsed lung.”
Defence barrister Kate Chidgey said Langley had been to see a client and was returning home when she got lost.
“She is normally a careful, conscientious driver who has driven for 30 years without incident," she said.
She revealed that Langley had lost a brother in an “almost identical” motorcycle incident some years earlier.
Emergency crews, including the air ambulance, had attended the scene of the tragedy in April and the road was closed for several hours.
Mr Saunders leaves behind two children, James, 21, and Jess, 19, who is studying at university in Canterbury.
She said after the accident: "I can't thank my dad enough for being the person he was, he always knew the right things to say and how to cheer me up.
"He would call me up randomly during the day and make me laugh. He told silly dad jokes that were so unfunny that they were funny. He never took life too seriously, I think that's how others will remember him too.
"Not a day will go by that I won't think about him and he will be in my heart forever."
She added: "Please look out for motorbikes and always look and think twice so other families don't have to go through the heartbreak we're going through."
Divorced Langley, who has raised her four children single-handedly, was also given a three year driving ban.