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Inquest Into Death Of Rear Seat Passenger In Car Crash

Expert Lawyers Working With Family To Secure 8-Year-Olds Future After Death of Mother


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The mother of a young woman who died when the car she was a passenger in skidded on surface water says listening to evidence about the accident at an inquest was ‘extremely difficult’ and expressed her disappointment that the driver did not face more serious criminal charges.

Mother-of-one Christine Harrison was a passenger in the rear of a car travelling on the A66 Bridge Road, Darlington, when it hit a patch of standing water and left the road, hitting nearby trees. Three people, including the driver, were injured in the crash but Christine sadly lost her life.

Her eight-year-old daughter Shaney-Leigh is now living with Christine’s Mother Francine Harrison who is working with specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office to ensure the young girl is properly provided for following the loss of her mother.

An inquest into the death heard how the driver of the car, Daniel Podmore, 27, from Darlington, accepted that his vehicle hit the surface water at 60mph even though the water should have been illuminated by headlights from the car and was there to be seen. A police officer also told the court that around 10 cars had successfully negotiated the standing water with no incident when he was at scene before the accident.

Coroner Tweedle recorded a verdict of accidental death but said there were some issues with how the police managed the scene of the accident following a previous incident just hours before.

Podmore pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and without a licence at the Magistrates’ Court recently, where he was fined £300, ordered to pay costs of £105 and banned from driving for six months.

The Crown Prosecution Service had also considered a charge of causing death by uninsured driving, but later said that a precedent in another case meant they could no longer prosecute that offence.

Lindsey Houghton, a specialist injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office representing the family, said:

Francine Harrison said: “It was extremely difficult to hear the evidence in relation to the crash and how Christine died. We remain very disappointed that the driver did not face more serious criminal charges. I believed that a criminal trial would have been appropriate to explore what happened and I am very grateful to the coroner for exploring the circumstances of Christine’s death.”

“The inquest heard that several other drivers had managed to drive down the same stretch of road in the hours before the crash and did not lose control. I hope other drivers take note of this case and ensure that in future they take care on wet roads.”

“Our priority now is ensuring that we work with Irwin Mitchell to make sure Shaney-Leigh’s future is secure. She has been incredibly brave since the loss of her mother and although nothing can bring Christine back, it is my duty to try and ensure my granddaughter receives as much help as possible throughout her life.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Fatal Accident claims.