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Private hire driver jailed for causing death of woman by dangerous driving while using mobile phone

Image credit: Lincolnshire Police

The driver of a private hire vehicle in Lincolnshire has been given a two-year custodial sentence and a six-year driving ban after admitting offences that caused the death of a woman and seriously injured another. Ian Penman, aged 67, of Washdyke Lane, Nettleham, was handed the sentence after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury while dangerous driving. His actions caused the death of Wendy Short and seriously injured her friend.

The collision happened at 3.22pm on Tuesday 23 July last year on the A46 between Doddington Road roundabout and Skellingthorpe Road roundabout. The collision caused the death of Wendy Short, aged 79, and seriously injured her friend, a woman in her seventies, both from Lincoln. Wendy died at the scene. The injured woman was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham with very serious injuries. The subsequent police investigation found that Penman was using his mobile phone at the time of the collision. He was holding the phone to his left ear with his left hand.

He had pleaded guilty to the offences at Lincoln Crown Court on 6 May. PC Godfrey Barlow, Forensic Collision Investigator, Lincolnshire Police said: “Research has shown that a person’s driving will be worse when on the phone compared to when they are not. Drivers will spend less time looking at the road ahead, less attention is given to checking the rear view mirror, vehicle instruments or the road conditions when using either a hand held or hand free mobile phone.

"It is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving or riding and hands free calls are still a real distraction. It is far safer not to use any mobile phone; divert calls to your voicemail facility.

"Drivers have a responsibility to callers not to answer the phone while they are driving. Let your voicemail take messages and listen to them when it is safe and lawful to do so.” Penman, a private hire licence holder, had collected Wendy Short and her friend from a garden centre in South Hykeham and was travelling to the north of Lincoln. Both passengers were sat in the back of the car.

Penman was using his phone as he drove towards Skellingthorpe Road roundabout where traffic was queuing. He collided with the rear of a DAF skip lorry, fatally injuring Ms Short, injuring her friend, and himself. Penman was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre. The subsequent police investigation found a call was accepted by Ian Penman at 3.22pm and lasted 39 seconds, ending at 3.23 pm. Tachograph evidence, from the DAF skip lorry, showed the time of the impact was 3.22pm and confirms the call was ongoing at the time the Seat collided with the lorry. The sentencing took place via video link at Lincoln Crown Court.

Family members of Wendy Short paid tribute to her, saying: “Wendy Short will just be a name to you all reading this, but she was our beautiful, selfless mum. Our best friend, a wife to our late step father Bob, a mother-in-law and a grandmother too.

“My mum was the person we would go to for support and to talk things through, she always gave the best advice. She was a counsellor to our friends who loved her dearly.

“Words cannot describe how we feel no longer being able to speak to mum because she has been taken away from us.

“It is so very hard to believe that mum went out for lunch and shopping with her dear friend, as they did every week, and never returned. This is our reality now.

“The driver admitted to being on his mobile phone and pleaded guilty to causing the death of mum by dangerous driving. I ask you to remember her name, Wendy Short, if you think of using your phone when driving, remember her name and the pain and loss we will feel forever. Your call can wait.”

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