A cocaine-snorting driver has avoided jail after running over a nursery nurse at 63mph in a 30mph zone while on her phone because her mental health would ‘deteriorate’ if she was locked up.
Clare Cassidy, 31, was speeding in her BMW 118D when she hit 29-year-old Yasmin Jenkins, who was out running in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with her boyfriend Philip Mott to raise money for the NHS on April 18 last year.
Ms Jenkins was thrown into the air by the force of the impact, which took place on Styal Road in Gatley, despite a desperate attempt by Mr Mott to save her.
Inquiries revealed Cassidy had been on her mobile phone at the wheel of her car in the moments before the accident and had failed to slow down at road junctions.
She was also found to have 186 micrograms (mg) of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Cassidy, of Didsbury, faced up to five years jail after she admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
But she was handed a two-year sentence, suspended for 18 months, after claiming she had mental health issues which led to her being admitted to the Priory rehabilitation clinic.
Clare Cassidy (pictured above), 31, was speeding in her BMW 118D when she hit 29-year-old Yasmin Jenkins, who was out running in Stockport, Greater Manchester, with her boyfriend Philip Mott to raise money for the NHS on April 18 last year
Ms Jenkins was thrown into the air by the force of the impact, which took place in Gatley, despite a desperate attempt by Mr Mott to save her (pictured: Ms Jenkins and Mr Mott)
Ms Jenkins was left in a coma for three weeks after suffering multiple serious injuries including a fractured skull, bleed to the brain and fractured left ankle. She has been left struggling to walk and had to learn to write again.
In a statement, she told police: ‘I am still struggling now and my throat hurts if I talk too much. I needed a drainage procedure by having a hole drilled into my skull and I had CT and MRI scans.
‘It got to the point when I couldn’t have any more due to too much exposure to radiation.
‘I had DVT in my right leg vein. I had a left ankle fracture causing drop foot and severe nerve damage. It caused damage to my whole right side. I was unable to walk as before. I had blurred vision and loss of speech. There was damage from tubes down my throat, causing loss of voice.
‘I was unable to eat or drink. I have cognitive problems. I will not fully recover from my injuries. Three parts of my brain have been damaged. I struggle to remember things.’
Ms Jenkins said she is not allowed to drive again, and has had to move in with her father and partner with her bed in the kitchen as she is unable to get upstairs.
The nursery nurse added that she cannot walk without a crutch, has to drink through a straw, was unable to speak for four weeks and is taking prescription medication for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought on by the incident.
She continued: ‘It’s very upsetting to have to deal with it all. It’s upsetting not to do what I want to do. In the past, I would go shopping and to the gym two to three times a week. I missed out on promotion and had a loss of earnings.’
Ms Jenkins added: ‘It’s put a strain on the relationship with my partner. I do not remember my accident, but I ask what happened since. I currently can’t stay home without somebody being there.
‘I am unable to consume alcohol. I used to love prosecco on a Saturday night. But now when my friends make plans, I don’t want to go.
Ms Jenkins (pictured left and right, with Mr Mott) was left in a coma for three weeks after suffering multiple serious injuries including a fractured skull, bleed to the brain and fractured left ankle. She has been left struggling to walk and had to learn to write again
‘Looking back, I am upset and distressed that this has happened to me. I have lost so much that I set out to do. I am unsure I will be able to go back to what I was doing and pursue what I was doing.
‘Since the accident, I have been unable to return to work. I have heard it might take five years to recover. I can’t get back this time of my life.’
Police compiled a report which showed Cassidy was travelling across junctions without slowing down while engaged in phone conversations at the wheel and not using hands-free Bluetooth equipment.
Investigators said Cassidy first saw Ms Jenkins when she was 80 metres away and had no chance of avoiding her due to her excessive speed.
Cassidy (pictured above) was handed a two-year sentence, suspended for 18 months
Prosecutor Helena Williams said: ‘Mr Mott crossed the road and called towards Ms Jenkins to get her attention but she did not hear him because she was wearing headphones.
‘Ms Jenkins then saw where he was and he waited for them to pass before crossing herself. Ms Jenkins was two feet away from the kerb side of the road. Mr Mott turned around to look over at her and was ten feet in front of her.
‘He saw a black vehicle driving at speed but he wasn’t unable to move fast enough to get to Miss Jenkins. The black BMW hit Ms Jenkins to her left buttocks and thigh and witnesses described seeing Miss Jenkins flying in the air.
‘She landed on the pavement face down and there was something like a loud cracking noise. A piece of the car came off and hit Mr Mott.
‘While Ms Jenkins was on the floor, there was blood coming from her nose.. She had grazes to her right leg and grazes on her head. Now out of the car, Ms Cassidy said: “I can’t believe I hit her”.
‘Prior to the collision another driver saw the black BMW hurtling towards her travelling at speed.’
A consultant neurosurgeon said Ms Jenkins would require a long period of neurorehabilitation and the injuries she sustained were life-threatening.
In mitigation, defence counsel Oliver Jarvis said: ‘She was driving too fast and if she hadn’t been going at that speed, the accident wouldn’t have happened.
At Minshull Crown Court (file photo, above), Cassidy was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work
‘She has a drug problem. She has been at The Priory since 2016 for a mental health issue but has addressed the problem and she is now drug-free.
‘She is not seeking sympathy – there is no self-pity here. There is no danger to the public. She is deeply, deeply sorry for what she did that day.’
Sentencing, Recorder Robert Lazarus told Cassidy: ‘The evidence is that you used cocaine two days prior to the collision.
‘While clearly you are over the limit, there is no evidence before that court that benzoylecgonine in your blood had any direct effect on your driving.
‘If the evidence concluded that you were not under the influence of drugs, the conclusion is that this was a deliberate and callous disregard for the safety of road users.
‘If you had been driving at a safe and reasonable speed, no collision would have taken place. In other circumstances, your driving could quite easily have led to her death. It is really only luck from your perspective that she is still alive today.
‘But you have a history of long-term mental health problems and I accept you are genuinely remorseful. I also note your mental health problems may deteriorate if sent to prison. ‘
Cassidy was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
Post source: Daily mail
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