Killer driver walks free

rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
edited May 2007 in Campaign
A driver chooses her own Safe Speed, and kills a cyclist:

A former model may have killed a cyclist because she was wearing stiletto heels while test driving a sports car, a court has heard.

Julie Hunter, 42, lost control of the Alfa Romeo Spyder as she drove around a parked car at 50mph in a 30mph zone.

The car spun on to the other side of the carriageway and ploughed into fitness instructor Debbie Riches, 21.

Hunter's two-and-a-quarter inch stiletto ankle boots probably contributed to her losing control.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/arti ... article.do




According to that article:

The court heard Hunter, ... received fixed penalty fines for speeding in 2003 and 2004.

...

Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC told her she was responsible for a "short burst of dangerous activity" - not 'wicked recklessness". "The defendant, for all her errors, didn't mean to do harm," he said.

"She was guilty of fault, not deliberate wickedness - the fault of serious negligence with terrible and disproportionate results."

Those statements just do not seem to add up. She knew she shouldn't speed, she'd been caught before and yet she still thought it was ok to do 50 mph in a 30mph zone.

She had shown remorse for the tragedy and had tried to commit suicide several times since.

Well try a bit harder next time.
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  • srw647srw647 Posts: 135
    quote:Originally posted by rothbook
    She had shown remorse for the tragedy and had tried to commit suicide several times since.

    Well try a bit harder next time.


    Whatever your opinion about the sentence, that comment is totally out of order and very offensive.
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    Chooses a speed she considers safe.

    In her opinion.

    Now, who else recommends drivers behave like this....?
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    "She was guilty of fault, not deliberate wickedness - the fault of serious negligence with terrible and disproportionate results."

    The fact is that it is far more common for "fault" rather than "deliberate wickedness" to be the cause of such "disproportionate results". When the consequences of rule-breaking are this serious, then the penalties should be as well.
    Perhaps if she had been properly punished by the courts she might not have felt so suicidal. A good argument for always bringing the greatest charge and applying the toughest sentence in these cases.

    What's worse than raining cats and dogs?
    Idiots who leap out into the road oblivious of their own safety and mine, flailing about with bags and umbrellas in the belief that buses won't stop at bus stops if there are people just waiting there.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • I've maintained for a long time that people should not drive in heels because the pivot points of the pedals are not designed or set up for it.

    nor should people wear flipflops, i've known someone who's flip flop managed to wedge itself behind the brake, stopping the brake from releaseing as it had wedged against the floor and pedal.

    takeing shoes off isnt a good plan either, infact i'm certain i was told when learning to drive that you're not allowed to drive barefoot - presumably because, if you have an accident and need to exit the vehicle quickly its likely you'll step on something sharp
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    I learned to drive wearing socks but not shoes, since the seat would not go back far enough. Taking my shoes of made the crucial difference in leg-room.

    What's worse than raining cats and dogs?
    Idiots who leap out into the road oblivious of their own safety and mine, flailing about with bags and umbrellas in the belief that buses won't stop at bus stops if there are people just waiting there.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • CabCab Posts: 770
    quote:Originally posted by rothbook
    Julie Hunter, 42, lost control of the Alfa Romeo Spyder as she drove around a parked car at 50mph in a 30mph zone.

    .....

    "She was guilty of fault, not deliberate wickedness - the fault of serious negligence with terrible and disproportionate results."


    Speeding at best part of double the speed limit, not deliberate wickedness, but it isn't negligence either. The latter implies that this is merely careless, thoughtless in some way. It isn't, its intentionally ignoring the rules of the road to the point where tragedy occurs. Its the predictable result of what she did, entirely proportionate to the risks she forced innocent bystanders to endure.

    And yet again, it transpires that its considered okay to put others at such risk, and it doesn't really matter all that much if you kill someone.

    Shameful.



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  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    It's nice to see the British justice system at work again. Nice to see them setting an example for other idiot drivers, she had already been fined for speeding twice before, well what do you know? third time lucky!!! Surely there's no defence for doing 50pmh in a 30mph zone.

    SNAPS
  • ArchcpArchcp Posts: 8,987
    quote:Originally posted by Random Vince


    takeing shoes off isnt a good plan either, infact i'm certain i was told when learning to drive that you're not allowed to drive barefoot - presumably because, if you have an accident and need to exit the vehicle quickly its likely you'll step on something sharp


    I would imagine it's more to do with not being so likely to brake hard in bare feet, because it might hurt, or the fact that with shoes on you can use the tips of your feet, thanks to the hard sole, rather than just your toes, which don't tend to be too strong. Or that the rounded shape of feet makes them more likely to slip off the pedals if, in a hurry, you only manage to catch the brake with the edge of the sole, whereas most shoes are more grippy?

    I certainly wouldn't want to drive in high heels, assuming I ever wore them...

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  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    quote:Originally posted by srw647

    quote:Originally posted by rothbook
    She had shown remorse for the tragedy and had tried to commit suicide several times since.

    Well try a bit harder next time.


    Whatever your opinion about the sentence, that comment is totally out of order and very offensive.



    Maybe, but it's nowhere near as offensive as killing a cyclist for the sake of a bit of adrenaline.

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  • MartinCcpMartinCcp Posts: 100
    I sometimes wonder if the CTC (and maybe Brake or Roadpeace) should collate a dossier of all these incidents over the last 20 years or so and go to the European Court of Justice with a case that the British Government is systematically failing to protect the right to life of vulnerable road users.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Sounds a bit lenient to me.

    I quite often drive shoeless - if I'm in walking boots then I can't get a feel for the pedals. Never slipped off any pedals in socks as you can feel exactly where the pedals are.

    Always careful to stow my shoes away properly though.
  • Uncle PhilUncle Phil Posts: 469
    The shoe excuse is irrelevant.

    I'm sure we'd all agree that if the end purpose of your journey requires shoes that aren't good for driving in, or even no shoes at all, then a responsible driver would carry extra shoes in which to drive, and then change when they arrived.

    This driver was not being responsible in this respect, and nor, apparently, in several others.

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  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    Obviously a driver who felt confident of judging her own SafeShoes, but in fact couldn't. Driving without shoes is imho perfectly safe but a little uncomfy, as the accelerator can wear a bit of a groove in the foot.
    I know a lot of women drive in high-heels, but high heel boots would definitely be very dangerous, as probably are a lot of boots. Especially on a poncey car like an alfa with little dainty pedals.
  • Oh dear . Lets get our priorities right shall we . A comment on an internet forum and actually killing somebody , which is offensive to you ?


    quote:Originally posted by srw647

    quote:Originally posted by rothbook
    She had shown remorse for the tragedy and had tried to commit suicide several times since.

    Well try a bit harder next time.


    Whatever your opinion about the sentence, that comment is totally out of order and very offensive.



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  • xioxio Posts: 212
    Uncle Phil - you sound like a right pompous censored . "I'm sure we'd all agree". No we wouldn't.

    There's notyhing wrong with driving shoeless and I would argue it gives you a greater degree of feel/control than any hard soled shoe would allow. As for the braking hard argument - what nonsense. Cars have had servo brakes as standard for some years now (not that even non-servo brakes are that hard to use barefoot). Stirling Moss always claimed he drove in his slippers because they gave more feel than racing shoes and he wasn't too shabby in his day.
  • bracketedbracketed Posts: 55
    Personally, I'd have thought that driving at 50mph "when she tried to whip around the parked car" was a rather more important factor than the size of her heels...
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  • Nigel-YZ1Nigel-YZ1 Posts: 23
    I'm taking the road bike for a run this evening. Now I have to consider whether the tyre rumble coming behind me at 60mph is being controlled by the wrong shoes?

    I already have to guess whether it will pass me at the same time as the car coming the other way, whether it will slow, whether it will take my elbow off trying to stay within the white lines, whether I will get a scream from the passenger, or his takeaway thrown into my wheels. I've got to ensure that there is no chasm in the underinvested pile of stones called a road to cause me to move out a few inches and become an 'inconsiderate cyclist'. Oh, and watch for drain covers with parallel gaps to trap my 23mm wheel. Or if that traffic island or crazy-golf-course-road-narrowing thing ahead will be looked at with more urgency than my sorry behind in the way.

    But don't worry. The driver wasn't being 'wicked' in killing me, and will be back on the road soon.

    50 in a 30 = ban for life.
    Cause a death by wearing the wrong shoes = ban for life.
    Drive while banned = 1 year prison.

    When I get on my bike I expect respect as an equal road user. When I get in my car I accept responsibility for the lives of everyone it passes in the vicinity of.
    Can we have a driving course and test please that demands this, rather than an exam asking where the dipstick is, and which lamp post to park it under?
  • Il PrincipeIl Principe Posts: 10,555
    8 months suspended! Makes me ****ING SICK.

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  • srw647srw647 Posts: 135
    quote:Originally posted by jashburnham

    8 months suspended! Makes me ****ING SICK.


    8 months suspended AND A 7-YEAR DRIVING BAN.

    Yes, the sentence was too lenient, but she has been *convicted*, has a *criminal record* and she has been *banned from driving* for 7 years. The lenience was probably related to her *pleading guilty*.

    Some of the posters here seem to be conveniently forgetting those facts in their bids to express voluble revulsion.
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    quote: Some of the posters here seem to be conveniently forgetting those facts in their bids to express voluble revulsion.


    Are you not revolted by the sentence?

    Why not?
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    quote:Originally posted by srw647


    8 months suspended AND A 7-YEAR DRIVING BAN.




    Should have been 8 months custodial sentence (minimum) and a lifetime ban IMHO. She had a history of speeding which eventually led to someones death. If she had two previous assault charges on her record and then had assaulted someone and killed them, she would have been locked up.

    SNAPS
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    FWIW, I had a friend who had a previous assault on his record, one day he saw someone being mugged, he chased after the mugger, caught him and slapped him about a little in the process. Result was my friend got charged with assault and recieved 6 months in the nick, more than the mugger got!

    SNAPS
  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    quote:Originally posted by srw647

    quote:Originally posted by jashburnham

    8 months suspended! Makes me ****ING SICK.


    8 months suspended AND A 7-YEAR DRIVING BAN.

    Yes, the sentence was too lenient, but she has been *convicted*, has a *criminal record* and she has been *banned from driving* for 7 years. The lenience was probably related to her *pleading guilty*.

    Some of the posters here seem to be conveniently forgetting those facts in their bids to express voluble revulsion.





    She's had three strikes, and the third involved killing someone. She has shown that she is a killer on the road, and unable to learn. Her license should be removed permanently.

    Why does is make things less serious because she was driving a car?

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    Road Sweeping Expert
    __________________________________________________________
    What we need is a new, national White Bicycle Plan
  • RyedalemanRyedaleman Posts: 68
    Surely all this shows her lack of imagination and disregard for other people...heels or not you can't walk in them..obvious you can't drive in them, (but fashionable) and has been proved even if you kill someone because your car was going to fast doesn't really matter because it's only an "accident".

    I wonder what the headline would be if a member of royalty was run over by a speeding poorly driven car.

    The things you see when you haven't got a gun>
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    quote:Originally posted by Ryedaleman



    I wonder what the headline would be if a member of royalty was run over by a speeding poorly driven car.




    Yeah, imagine a princess was killed by a drink driver. I wonder how much press coverage that would generate.

    SNAPS
  • bad companybad company Posts: 2,293
    I really don't see any point in locking up somebody in these circumstances. The cost to the taxpayer is enormous and the prisons are over full already.

    I would have added some community service to the sentance though.

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  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    quote:Originally posted by bad company

    I really don't see any point in locking up somebody in these circumstances. The cost to the taxpayer is enormous and the prisons are over full already.

    I would have added some community service to the sentance though.

    I AM THE STIG - HONEST


    Who would you save the prisons for then?? She took someones life, I thought that was at the top of most peoples list for locking people up!! or do you consider this a "OK" death compared to say someone that sells an ecstasy pill and then the person dies of a reaction to the drug, would this be a "bad" death? and would this deserve one of our expensive prison places?

    SNAPS
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    quote: I really don't see any point in locking up somebody in these circumstances.


    To remove or at least dispel the dangerous lie that speeding is a harmless activity?

    To encourage drivers to take care, since the courts hand out sentences that are punishments AND deterrents?

    To force this woman to take care when she, unbelievably, gets her licence back?

    What eveidence is there that she tried to kill herself, by the way?
  • Eat My DustEat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    quote:Originally posted by rothbook



    What eveidence is there that she tried to kill herself, by the way?


    What? don't you trust the word of her lawyer??[:o)]

    SNAPS
  • bobbypbobbyp Posts: 275
    Lifetime driving bans in cases like these make sense. She's been banned before for similar crimes, hasn't learnt.

    There are too many cars on the road. And too many drivers see the risk of speeding as merely a fine and a few points. Kill two birds with one stone and give lifetime bans for people who have shown that they can't, no matter how many chances they're given, drive legally.

    The legal system seems unfairly balanced towards the belief that people have a right to drive. They don't, they earn the right to drive and like anything that you have to earn it should be removed if you prove yourself not worthy.
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