Driver is spared jail for mat­tress death on A229

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Hunt mes­sen­gernews@ thek­m­group.co.uk @KM_news­room

An Ayles­ford woman who caused another driver’s death when a mat­tress fell from her car roof is to be spared jail.

Re­becca Miller was in the process of mov­ing home when it was dis­lodged from her Peu­geot 2008 SUV on the busy A229 dual car­riage­way at Blue Bell Hill.

The dou­ble mat­tress landed in the out­side lane, in the path of re­tired se­cu­rity guard Clive Mauger’s Peu­geot 206, Maid­stone Crown Court heard.

He was un­able to sw­erve out of the way and his car clipped it, ca­reered off the road and hit a tree.

The 69-year-old grand­fa­ther, who was trav­el­ling at about 60mph, was killed in­stantly.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened at just af­ter 4.30pm on Jan­uary 30.

Miller, a prison of­fi­cer of 15 years, told po­lice she would not have driven if she had any con­cerns about the load, which was held on by five bungee cords.

She was do­ing about 50 to 55mph in the Maid­stone-bound car­riage­way when she heard a loud crack.

She pulled over and saw the vic­tim crash.

Pros­e­cu­tor Richard Hearn­den said Miller’s vi­sion was not ob­scured and there was no ev­i­dence she was speed­ing.

“Pure and sim­ple, this was a case of a load com­ing off her car,” he said.

“She didn’t drive with due care and at­ten­tion be­cause she ought not to have driven at all with the load se­cured in the way it was.

“Al­ter­na­tively, she should have been driv­ing con­sid­er­ably slower – per­haps even on a dif­fer­ent route and not on a fast road.”

Mr Mauger, a fa­ther-of-four from Chatham, was on his way to visit a friend at the time.

Miller, 39, de­nied caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing and her guilty plea to caus­ing death by care­less driv­ing was ac­cepted.

Judge Ju­lian Smith in­di­cated he would sus­pend a prison sen­tence. It was poor de­ci­sion­mak­ing, he said, that caused the fa­tal crash.

Si­mon Tay­lor, de­fend­ing, said the bungee grip had sim­ply failed.

Miller was sus­pended from work when charged, and now ex­pected to lose her job, he added.

Sen­tenc­ing was ad­journed. See Kent On­line for up­dates.

Re­becca Miller avoided jail

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