Teenager jailed after death crash

AN 18-year-old learner driver who killed an Ipswich woman has been jailed.

AN 18-year-old learner driver who killed an Ipswich woman has been jailed.

Kyler Jackson of Blake Road, Ipswich killed 61-year-old Susan Garnham as she walked home along Stoke Park Drive on Sunday morning, March 23 this year.

Despite only holding a provisional licence, Jackson drove to work without a supervising driver and without L plates in icy conditions.

Judge Peter Thompson told Ipswich Crown Court that a report prepared for the case said Jackson believed driving tests were “unimportant” and admitted it was not the first time he had driven alone.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting said that at about 8.25am Jackson drove towards the Brook Hotel where he was employed as a fitness instructor.

At the same time Mrs Garnham, a wife, mother and grandmother, who had celebrated her Ruby wedding just two weeks earlier, had worked at Stoke High School for 28 years and had planned to retire with her husband in three years was walking home after buying her Sunday newspaper.

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Mr Duah said Jackson, who was driving at 35 miles per hour in a 30 limit lost control of his Fiat car.

He said: “The vehicle span through 180 degrees across the road. He then mounted the pavement. The vehicle collided with the deceased person.”

He added that the impact caused a loud “bang” and Mrs Garnham hit a post before she was seen lying in a “heap” on the ground.

Jackson got in his car and went to telephone the police while another passing motorist stopped to help Mrs Garnham who was still alive at that time. Jackson lied and said he had seen a black VW golf hit someone.

Mr Duah said Jackson then went to work, later watched football with friends, socialised at a nightclub and three days later went on holiday with his girlfriend to Center Parcs.

He said that pieces from a broken car light found at the scene were eventually matched to the Fiat that Jackson jointly owned with his brother and he was arrested at the holiday site.

Jackson pleaded guilty to perverting the cause of justice, careless driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident, having no insurance and to driving unsupervised on a provisional licence without L plates.

The court heard that Mrs Garnham's family were “devastated”.

Her son, Andrew, described his mother as an “unbreakable tower of strength” and Jackson as “irresponsible and thoughtless”.

Roger Thomson, mitigating, said his client was “extremely remorseful” and had “panicked” when he phoned the police.

He said Jackson swerved his car to avoid a cat and lost control due to his lack of experience as a driver. He added that the days between the accident and being arrested were “a living nightmare for Jackson”.

Judge Peter Thompson said: “Parliament has recently changed the law about causing death by careless driving but it has not come into force yet, so you are not being sentenced under that provision.

“If you were the maximum is seven years in prison. I'm sure you understand custody is inevitable but the question for me is how long because however long it is, it will never satisfy the Garnham family.”

Jackson was jailed for a total of nine months and disqualified from driving for three years.

He was told he would have to complete an extended driving test after the ban had ended.

After the hearing, Mrs Garnham's family released the following statement: “The sentence today does not change the fact that the actions of Kyler Jackson have left our family devastated at the death of our mum, Susan Garnham.

“Our family, friends and the community we live in, are still in total shock that Kyler Jackson stopped, saw our mum dying, then drove off and proceeded to cover his tracks.

“We feel that Kyler Jackson is a cowardly & deceitful man and continue to find it difficult to forgive him for his inhumane actions.

“We would like to think that our mum's brutal death does not end up as another statistic and that people will take note that everything they do has a consequence to others.

“We would have wished that this sentence reflected the severity of the actions taken and would be seen to be a deterrent to those who feel they can act with no forethought for others within the community.

“Unfortunately, due to current legislation, this is not the case.

“We would like to thank our friends and the community for their support since Easter Sunday and that they remember our mum as the truly wonderful person she was, someone who gave so much and touched so many lives and expected nothing in return.

“We will all miss her dearly.”