Woman jailed for fatal crash after driving wrong way down M57 motorway

Anne Marie Crook drove wrong way down slip road at junction near Liverpool in 2019

Zaina Alibhai
Friday 08 October 2021 15:09
<p>Anne Marie Crook was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment and was disqualified from driving for a period of five years and three months</p>

Anne Marie Crook was sentenced to four years and eight months imprisonment and was disqualified from driving for a period of five years and three months

A woman who drove the wrong way down a motorway before crashing into and killing another driver has been jailed.

Anne Marie Crook, 43,  admitted causing death by dangerous driving after crashing into Paula Kingdon, 64, and was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court.

Crook drove the wrong way down a slip road at a junction of the M57, near Liverpool, on 31 October 2019.

Drivers of vehicles passing her flashed their lights and beeped their horns to alert her to the mistake, and several narrowly avoided colliding with her car.

As she accelerated onto the main carriageway - in a manner witnesses described as “determined” - she struck Ms Kingdon’s car almost immediately.

Crook was interviewed by police on 29 July 2020, but said she could not recall anything about the collision in which she was also seriously injured.

The only conclusion she could come to was that she had taken a wrong turn and panicked, whilst denying she had been trying to take her own life.

In court, prosecutor Chris Hopkins said “the only sensible inference is that she was intending to harm herself”, though Judge Garrett Byrne refuted this.

He added: “Although you may not have specifically intended to harm anyone else, you must have realised at the time that your driving was bound to cause somebody really serious harm, if not their death."

Defending, Sarah Griffin also insisted Crook had not deliberately intended to harm anyone else, but accepted the consequence of what occurred.

Ms Kingdon, who lived in Sheffield, was described as a “committed” former headteacher who had been caring for her stepfather John in Liverpool after her mother’s death.

In a victim statement, her brother, Stephen Sharples, said: “After a lifetime of devoting herself to others, Paula deserved the chance to enjoy her retirement.

“She embraced her new life with the same energy and positivity that she had brought to her work, and happily divided her time between seeing family and friends, travelling, going to the theatre, looking after John and following Liverpool FC.

“It is heart-breaking for me that Paula had this wonderful new chapter of her life so cruelly taken away by the senseless actions of a total stranger.”

District Crown Prosecutor Keith Drummond, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said Crook was a “woman of previous good character and had no previous driving convictions”.

He added: “But for some reason, on the morning of 31 October 2019, she chose to get behind the wheel of her car and turn that vehicle into a killing machine.

“It might be that she intended to kill herself – we cannot be sure. But she didn’t. Her reckless and dangerous driving  took the life of an innocent motorist and has left behind a tragedy of loss and pain for the family of Paula Kingdon.”

He said Crook “pleaded guilty and has accepted her part in the dreadful events of that day. But that won’t bring back Paula Kingdon. A tragic case indeed”.

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