Death crash mother in court

MOTHER Wendy Jipson was due to appear in court today charged with drink-driving offences which led to an accident in which her teenage daughter died.Julia Kettle, 17, was in the car being driven by her mother late in the evening of March 27.

MOTHER Wendy Jipson was told today she may face jail for a drink driving offence which led to an accident in which her teenage daughter died.

Magistrate Margaret Crossman told Colchester Magistrates' Court: "We feel that the matter is so serious that custody must be an option."

Julia Kettle, 17, was in the car being driven by her mother late in the evening of March 27. They left their home in Colchester Road, Lawford to go and see Mrs Jipson's son in Braintree.

At 12.05am Mrs Jipson's Ford Escort went out of control at Long Road East, Dedham, and struck a utility pole.

Julia, a former Manningtree High School pupil, died from multiple injuries at the scene of the accident.

Mrs Jepson pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol following the accident and driving without insurance.

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The court heard that divorced mother of five Mrs Jipson, had been previously been convicted of drink driving in 1983 and speeding in July 2000.

She had also previously received a 120-hour community punishment order for benefit fraud earlier this year.

Defending Huw Rowland spoke of Mrs Jipson's remorse following the accident.

Mrs Jipson, dressed in a sleeveless black dress, wept as she listened to Mr Rowland describe her daughter as "a happy go lucky, vibrant and hugely popular 17-year-old."

An inquest at Colchester Town Hall heard yesterday that a blood test taken two hours after the crash found Mrs Jipson had not less than 133mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The legal limit is 80mgs.

At the inquest Mrs Jipson, 42, wept as the court heard how she was over the drink drive limit when she had the accident.

She had been drinking alcohol at lunchtime the day of the fatal crash but said she had not drunk any that evening.

Forensic tests carried out by the police established Mrs Jipson's blood alcohol level would have been 170mgs at the time of the accident.

In an interview with police, which was read to the inquest, Mrs Jipson said she may have been driving a bit quicker than normal as she was in a hurry to get to her son.

But she said she lost control after going round a corner and skidded on some water and mud on the road, which she did not see until the car began to go out of control.

Mrs Jipson said she had been out the previous lunchtime when she drank alcohol but did not drink any when she worked in a pub that evening.

Essex Police traffic investigator Pc Richard Gould said mud on the road was a contributing factor to the accident but added: "It was mainly due to the excessive alcohol, although it was slightly down to excessive speed, it was mainly because of the alcohol.

"In any event, it unfortunately resulted in the death of Mrs Jipson's daughter, Julia."

There were no eye-witnesses to the crash but motorist Karen Lewis was driving in the opposite direction when she came across Mrs Jipson's car in the ditch.

She said she heard screams coming from the vehicle.

"The car was in the ditch and its headlights were pointing in my direction," she said.

"I called my friend and she rang the emergency services."

Mrs Jipson wiped away tears as Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a verdict of accidental death.

"I would like to offer the court's sympathy to you, Mrs Jipson, on the tragic loss of Julia," she said.

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