Thu, 13 Aug 2020
A THATCHAM grandmother accused of causing the death of a young motorcyclist by careless driving told jurors: “It was just a nightmare.”
Christina Carroll sobbed as she said: “I think about it every second of every minute of every day.”
But she claimed that 17-year-old motorcyclist Harry Broad appeared to speed up, rather than brake, as she pulled out of the junction of Pound Lane and Lower Way between Newbury and Thatcham on January 21 last year.
Former Trinity School pupil Mr Broad, who lived in Swindon, died in hospital from devastating head injuries on 26 January, three days after his 18th birthday.
Sixty-two-year-old Ms Carroll, who lives in Foxglove Way, denies a single charge of causing his death by careless driving in her silver Mercedes.
Nadia Chbat, prosecuting the case at Reading Crown Court, said: “Despite seeing the motorbike, she pulled out of that junction. The motorbike had no time to react.”
Giving evidence from the witness box, Mrs Carroll told the jury: “I stopped and looked right, which is the Newbury way; the motorcycle came from the right – you can really see a long way down that road.
"I could see his headlamp; he was a really long way away.
"There was a lorry I could see coming from the Thatcham way. The lorry seemed nearer to me.
"I proceeded to pull out of the junction, looked right and then there was a crash... I couldn’t understand how the motorbike got there as quick as that. I was just completely shocked.
"To me it seemed as if the motorbike speeded up... I was just totally shocked... I couldn’t believe it.”
Mrs Carroll said the motorcycle had been “going too fast” and added: “I managed to scramble out the passenger side and there was already somebody there with the boy on the floor.
"The poor boy kept trying to get up... it was just a nightmare... I was just hysterical. I think about it every second of every minute of every day.”
Mrs Carroll told the court of her devastation when police came to her door and told her husband John that Harry had died then added: “But it’s nothing to what his family is going through.”
Mrs Carroll, who later attended a voluntary police interview, gave no-comment answers to the police questions, but read out a prepared statement, which described how she had owned a provisional licence for 25 years and it was not until 2016 she took her test and obtained a full-licence in order to help look after her granddaughter.
A forensic examiner had found no physical evidence of any tyre marks on the road from either the defendant or Mr Broad’s vehicle, nor was there any way of determining the position of the motorcycle nor its speed at the time of the collision, but it had left a 10cms dent in the side of the Mercedes.
Ms Chbat has told the jury: “The prosecution say Mrs Carroll’s view of the motorbike was considerable. There was nothing blocking her view of the motorbike. She saw it. She accepts this. The motorbike had no time to react and apply any brake whatsoever.
“Our case is that Mrs Carroll caused the death of Harry Broad by pulling out into his path. She was responsible for his death because her driving was below that which you would expect of a competent and careful driver.”
The case continues.