Vet found guilty of causing fatal crash near Church Stretton
A vet has been found guilty of causing the death of a woman in a four-car collision in south Shropshire.
Jurors found Stephen Lomax guilty of death by careless driving yesterday at Shrewsbury Crown Court.
The 62-year-old was travelling along the A49 at Affcot, near Church Stretton, on January 14 last year when he failed to notice in time a stationary car in the road.
His Saab hit the back right side of a Skoda Fabia – which was waiting behind a vehicle indicating to turn into a lay-by – before swerving into the path of a Ford Fiesta on the opposite side of the road.
Carol Pearson, who was in the front of the Fiesta, was trapped in the wreckage and died in hospital of multiple injuries three days later.
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Yesterday, prosecuting barrister Nicholas Smith told jurors Lomax initially tried to minimise his culpability to the police when he said he was driving at 40mph before applying his brakes.
The court heard the speed of impact was 40mph and Lomax later admitted, after hearing evidence from an independent collision investigator, that he may have been driving “significantly faster”.
Mr Smith said: “He is guilty of causing her death through his careless driving.
“I will submit to you that one explanation is that Mr Lomax wasn’t driving with due care and attention and his driving fell below the expected standard.
“I hate to say the facts speak for themselves but that’s the conclusion I’m drawn to.
“He was trying to minimise his culpability to the police saying he was driving at 40mph.”
He added: “This was not a blind bend, this was not at night, it was in broad daylight.
“This is a case where you can put yourselves in the shoes of Mr Lomax. Had you been driving that day would you have not realised that car had stopped?”
No evidence suggested Lomax was exceeding the 60mph limit, the court heard.
Defence barrister Nicholas Syfret QC told jurors that Lomax, of Boresford, Presteigne, in Powys, was an experienced driver who did not have enough time to react.
Mr Syfret said: “He’s driven since 1974, driving tens of thousands of miles on an annual basis. A second was the difference between being here and not needing to be here.
"It is not a normal hazard in a road – you are not expecting to get a stationary vehicle in the left lane on an A road.
"He's just unlucky to be the only person to be put in this situation – you'll never know how anybody else would have done."
Lomax is due to be sentenced on August 16.
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