Man pleads guilty to causing death crash

AN Italian man was today fined £1,000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty to careless driving which resulted in the deaths of a Suffolk couple.

AN Italian man was today fined £1,000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty to careless driving which resulted in the deaths of a Suffolk couple.

Despite causing the deaths of John and Christine Murkin, Marco Botti's ban will not apply to the 25-year-old driving in his own country.

At Bury Magistrates Court today Botti admitted that he had strayed into the path of a Peugeot 205 near Newmarket on Tuesday, last week.

Botti of Lisbon Road, Newmarket admitted that he had steered into the path of the car as an instinctive reaction because he drives on the right in his home country.

Sandra Dyer prosecuting, said that Mr Botti had been resident in the UK for seven months and originally came from Milan. He had been working as a trainee horse trainer in Newmarket when the accident took place on Snailwell Road.

She read out a statement from Scott Murkin, the son of the dead couple John and Christine Murkin who was also in the car at the time of the accident and suffered serious injuries himself.

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"I visited my parents on the morning of July 30 and we went to Tesco in Newmarket to do some shopping. I decided to go with them as I needed to go to Homebase. We met up in the car park and headed back towards Mildenhall when the accident happened," the statement read.

"There was no rush to get home, my dad was driving at 35 mile per hour. As we approached the bend I saw a car coming in the opposite direction with one person sitting in the left-hand side of the car. There was no time for my dad to react to the collision."

The Murkin's Peugeot 205 collided with Mr Botti's silver Audi resulting in the death of the two front seat passengers.

Scott Murkin, who was sitting behind his mother received two broken legs and bruising to the upper body. A doctor called to the scene pronounced both his parents dead.

Ms Dyer read out a police statement which said that speed was not an issue and it was clear that Botti drove on the wrong side of the road and had moved into the wrong carriageway by braking and steering to the right instead of steering to the left.

Mr Botti was interviewed by police after the accident and said the weather was fine, the road was dry and he thought he was travelling at the speed limit of 40 mph. He said that he had instinctively steered to the right to avoid the oncoming car borne out of the fact that in Italy they drive on the right.

Jason Coulter, defending, said it was a tragic sequence of events and in the blink of an eye Mr Botti had reacted instinctively but he had reacted the wrong way round. He said the tragedy of the case is that he swerved right into the path of the Murkin's vehicle which illustrated the awfulness of momentary inattention.

There was no evidence of excessive speed or reckless driving which would have been aggravating features and his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He also said Mr Botti had no desire to further drive in the UK.

Jane Heard, chairman of the bench, said that the £1,000 fine had been reduced from £1,500 in light of the guilty plea.

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