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Prison for Death Text Motorist

Texting while driving leads to sentence and ban


A woman has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after texting while driving led to the death of another motorist.

The court heard how Philippa Curtis, 21, of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, sent more than 20 texts and made several calls while driving to Oxford to visit her boyfriend.

The accident happened while Curtis was travelling at 70mph and ploughed into the back of a stationary car killing Victoria McBryde, 24, of Horton in Northamptonshire who was in the driver`s seat.

Curtis pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving following the accident on the A40, near Wheatley, on November 20, 2007.

However, following a trial at Oxford Crown Court in December the jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to 21 months in prison and banned from driving for three years.

Miss McBryde stopped because her tyre had burst, she was then pushed off the road and on to a piece of concrete - she died as a result of a brain injury.

Curtis, who worked as a waitress, told the court she had sent text messages while driving but denied using her mobile phone at the time of the collision.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Stephen Nye from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: This case is yet further evidence, as if we needed it, of how dangerous it can be to use a mobile phone when driving. Using a phone either to call or send a text is an obvious distraction to the driver and is reckless in the extreme.

"In this case the driver seemed to take the view that using a phone while driving is acceptable, but clearly it is not under any circumstances. This driver was also speeding to add to the serious of the offence, so in the circumstances the sentence does seem lenient. It is hoped the family of the deceased can obtain some redress by pursuing their entitlement to make a civil claim for compensation."