FENLAND:Teenager leaves court in tears after being cleared in double death tragedy
PUBLISHED: 13:35 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 08:35 02 June 2010
A TEENAGE driver who killed a mother and daughter when his car ploughed into them left court in tears after being cleared of causing their deaths by dangerous driving. A year after Jacqueline Fletcher and her 13-year-old daughter Danielle died, Nicholas
A TEENAGE driver who killed a mother and daughter when his car ploughed into them left court in tears after being cleared of causing their deaths by dangerous driving.
A year after Jacqueline Fletcher and her 13-year-old daughter Danielle died, Nicholas Walls was found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and also of a lesser charge of careless driving.
Walls 19, of Main Road Parson Drove, had denied the charges when he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court. The jury announced their verdict on Tuesday.
Mrs Fletcher's youngest daughter, nine-year-old Samantha, sustained minor injuries and watched in horror as the tragedy unfolded.
The family from Front Road, Murrow, were walking with their dog on the B1167 near their home when the collision happened. Mrs Fletcher had been working at the family business GB Mushrooms Ltd of Guyhirn.
Prosecuters alleged that Walls was overtaking a Suzuki Vitara with a trailer in his Vauxhall Corsa at 50 to 60mph before spinning into the bank and skidding into the pedestrians.
The court heard that Walls had held his licence for more than a year at the time of the accident and had completed a Pass Plus course for new drivers.
In a statement Walls said: "I don't know what I did to lose control. All I know is I did brake. That's when I thought 'I'm going to go into the back of it.'
"I put my foot on the brake and then I realised I wasn't going to stop in time. That's when I swerved."
Defence counsel Robin Pearse Wheatley said afterwards: "As the jury has found, this was just that, a tragic accident. At no time was it suggested my client Nicholas Walls was driving too fast, or foolishly, or drunkenly, or in any way that would lead to his conviction for dangerous driving. He simply lost control of his car, when faced with a situation that he had no experience to deal with."
Collision Investigator PC Peter Bimson said: "This young man may consider himself very fortunate that he has not been convicted of dangerous driving. Nicholas Walls was a relatively novice driver, and I hope other young drivers will recognise the responsibility they hold every time they get behind the wheel of a car."
After the accident which robbed Nigel Fletcher of his wife and daughter, Mr Fletcher said: " Jackie was the best wife and mother a man could have - much better than I deserved. I loved her dearly and was looking forward to spending our lives together."
Speaking about his daughter Danielle, who was a student at March's Neale-Wade Community College, he said: "She was an angel, everybody loved her. She never hurt anybody. All she ever did was good, thinking of other people all the time.
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