Death-crash ap­peal fails

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - 24 Hours - By WIL­LIAM SMITH

A BUSI­NESS­WOMAN who killed a young cou­ple af­ter plough­ing into them as she drove her mil­lion­aire boss’s Jaguar “like a bul­let” has been told by top judges she can have no com­plaint about her jail term.

A court heard 48-year-old Mary Bar­bara Butres caused the deaths of Mark Comp­ton (20) and his girl­friend, Jodie Brown (19), as she sped along the A1 at about 111 miles-an-hour on her way home from a day at the races.

Butres, of St Mary’s Street, Stam­ford, was back in the dock as she launched a chal­lenge against her seven-and-a-half year jail term at London’s Crim­i­nal Ap­peal Court on Tues­day.

She was handed the sen­tence at Not­ting­ham Crown Court on Jan­uary 20 this year af­ter pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ting two charges of caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

John El­lis Ni­chols (59) was jailed for four years on Fe­bru­ary 2 this year af­ter a jury at the same court con­victed him of the same charges, be­cause he was trav­el­ling with her at the time of the crash and failed to stop her. He also ap­pealed against his sen­tence.

But ap­peal court judges dis­missed their chal­lenges, say­ing the jail-terms handed to both of them were “not even ar­guably ex­ces­sive”. Mr Jus­tice Hol­man, sit­ting with Lord Jus­tice Moses and Mrs Jus­tice Raf­ferty, told the court the crash hap­pened at about 6.45pm on May 12, 2007 on the A1 at Great Pon­ton, near Gran­tham.

Butres and Ni­chols had been at Not­ting­ham Race­course and had both been drink­ing, but Ni­chols gave his car keys to Butres be­cause he had drunk more than her.

She lost con­trol of the car af­ter hit­ting a pool of rain wa­ter and had smashed into the three vic­tims, who had got out of their Fi­esta car af­ter break­ing down.

The court heard Butres, who at the time worked for Ni­chols’ pack­ing firm, was seen by wit­nesses driv­ing the Jaguar XJ8 “like a bul­let”. Mr Comp­ton was killed al­most in­stantly at the scene and Miss Brown died shortly af­ter­wards in hos­pi­tal. Her brother Ni­cholas Brown was se­ri­ously in­jured and needed a num­ber of op­er­a­tions to his legs.

The court heard Butres had been driv­ing at about 111 mile­san-hour and a breath test re­vealed she was one-and-a-half times over the le­gal drink-drive limit.

Butres’s lawyers ar­gued Judge John Milmo QC, who passed sen­tence, did not prop­erly con­sider her “im­pec­ca­ble good char­ac­ter” and did not give her suf­fi­cient credit for her guilty plea or that she had al­ready served the equiv­a­lent of 10 months af­ter her orig­i­nal con­vic­tion.

Ni­chols’ QC, Richard Ko­valevsky, told the court his client had two brain tu­mours and one was found to be in­op­er­a­ble and gave him per­ma­nent tin­ni­tus and headaches. But Mr Jus­tice Hol­man said: “We are of the very clear view that the sen­tences im­posed in re­la­tion to Miss Butres were not even ar­guably ex­ces­sive.

“We re­gret that Mr Ni­chols is now serv­ing a sen­tence com­pounded by his sig­nif­i­cant med­i­cal con­di­tion.”

Speak­ing af­ter­wards, Ni­cholas Brown (38) – who still re­quires an­other op­er­a­tion on one of his legs – said: “I’m over the moon with this re­sult. This whole thing has been a night­mare for me and my fam­ily. They have pro­longed our agony by ap­peal­ing again.”

FAILED AP­PEALS: Mary Butres and John Ni­chols had their ap­peals against sen­tence for caus­ing death by dan­ger­ous driv­ing re­jected.

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