Death driver's apology thrown back

A HIT-and-run driver who killed Ipswich builder Marc Downing has today said sorry to his mother. Hayley Matthews, 25, apologised to 44-year-old Denise Downing for killing her son in an accident in Cornwall last year.

A HIT-and-run driver who killed Ipswich builder Marc Downing has today said sorry to his mother.

Hayley Matthews, 25, apologised to 44-year-old Denise Downing for killing her son in an accident in Cornwall last year.

But Mrs Downing immediately threw the apology back in her face saying it was "disgusting" and "an insult".

Speaking to a national newspaper Miss Matthews said: "I know his mum is going to be hating me.

"She is not going to want to think it's an accident. Even though I am not responsible, I am truly, truly sorry."

As revealed in the Evening Star on Wednesday, Miss Matthews was fined £83.34 and banned from driving for two years by magistrates in Cornwall.

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Marc Downing's mother described the sentence as an 'absolute insult'.

Despite pleading guilty to driving with no insurance, having no tax, driving with two defective tyres, failing to stop and failing to report an accident Miss Matthews insisted the accident was not her fault.

Miss Matthews claimed: "Her son was drunk and walking in the middle of the road. My fault was not stopping.

"I spent the last nine months convinced I was going to prison for failing to stop.

"It all happened so quickly. I was driving up a hill when I suddenly saw someone in front of me.

"I tried to swerve but it was too late - I was only doing 30mph."

Mrs Downing, who manages a shoe shop in Ipswich, said she could not accept the apology.

She said: "She is trying to put the blame on my son. I think it is diabolical I am even more outraged and even more angry.

"He was not drunk he had had five pints which given the time lapse is nothing."

Mrs Downing said she was disgusted with the apology.

"She was the one that did not stop. She shouldn't have been in the car, it was an illegal weapon. It should not have been on the road.

"I had to hear about the horrendous injuries caused to my son in the inquest. I cannot accept this apology."

Mrs Downing said Miss Matthews had had nine months since the accident to make an apology.

She said: "It is disgusting. My colleagues at work cannot believe it."

Miss Matthews, who has a three-year-old son, said she has flashbacks to the accident.

"I know I did not stop and I will never forgive myself. It was just panic and fear. I knew I had hit someone but I just did not want to believe it.

"I thought I would go to prison and lose my son."

Miss Matthews was on her way home to Redruth at 4am on August 30 last year when the accident happened. Mr Downing, who lived in Kitchener Road, Ipswich, was on a camping holiday in Newquay at the time.

She said: "There were no charges of dangerous driving or carelessness or being under the influence. I can understand his mum wants to lash out, but I am getting all the backlash.

"What is being said is all wrong. I am absolutely gutted. I have to live with what happened for the rest of my life.

"But the accident was an accident-it was not my fault.

Miss Matthews said she had spent months crying over the events of that early morning.

After the sentence Mrs Downing called for a mandatory prison sentence to be introduced for failing to stop after an accident. She has started a petition demanding the introduction of a stiffer penalty.

She added: "I have got 700 signatures and I have had a lot of support from people calling me up. I am sure I will get even more."

What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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