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Driver who caused Lincolnshire death crash while 'adjusting her hair' loses appeal

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: August 03, 2012

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A driver who caused a fatal crash while "adjusting her hair" in the rearview mirror, has lost her appeal for a shorter jail term.

Rachael Forster, 23, did not see a stationary van waiting to turn right ahead of her on a road near Honington, near Grantham, despite is being in her sight for more than 300 metres.

She reacted just five feet away, and "moved violently to the right" into the path of an oncoming car.

Other drivers at the scene later reported to the police that she "seemed to be adjusting her hair" and had been "looking intermittently into the mirror."

Forster, of Belle Vue Villas, East Boldon, Tyne and Wear, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving on September 29, 2011 at Lincoln Crown Court.

She was jailed for 12 months and disqualified from driving for two years.

She asked Lord Justice Hooper, Mr Justice Simon and Mrs Justice Cox, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court to free her from prison.

The court heard mother-of-two, Ann Wallace, 65, of Belton Lane, Grantham, a passenger in the other car, was killed, while her partner John Brummitt, 70, suffered catastrophic injuries.

Two of their friends were also seriously injured.

Forster also suffered fractures to both legs and her spine, and is still using crutches behind bars. Those injuries formed the basis of her lawyers' arguments in the Appeal Court.

They pleaded that she ought to be freed because her time behind bars is more arduous than normal because of her condition.

But Lord Justice Hooper, delivering the court's judgement, dismissed her appeal, saying: "This was a significant lapse of concentration – it was not simply a momentary lapse.

"We do not consider that it can be said that the sentence of 12 months' imprisonment was manifestly excessive."

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