Death-crash appeal fails
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.