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Death-crash driver fined

Thursday, 3rd May 2001.

AN ALLEGED drink-driver walked free from court after admitting careless driving in an accident in which three teenagers died and one was seriously injured.
Robert Ames, 52, was fined 200 and banned from driving for 18 months at Ipswich Crown Court following the head-on collision which killed the three friends from Suffolk.
The prosecution offered no evidence on an earlier charge of causing death by dangerous driving, which was denied by Ames.
Alex Pantling, 17, from Stansfield, Giles Cottam, 18, and Daryl Cutts, 17, both of Clare, were killed when their Ford Escort smashed into Ames' Vauxhall Vectra at nearby Cavendish, Suffolk, in March last year.
A fourth friend, Robert Beer, then 17, survived, but suffered serious injuries while Ames, of Long Melford, Suffolk, was also seriously hurt.
Passing sentence, Judge Nicholas Beddard said: "The prosecution accept that neither your slight excess speed nor your alcohol level either contributed to the cause of the collision or to its tragic severity.
"I tried this case as if I was dealing with a case of excess alcohol."
He added: "The cause of the accident remains a mystery. Both vehicles seem to have been travelling somewhat above the speed limit but not to any great extent."
Steven Dyble, prosecuting, said the car driven by Mr Pantling was on the wrong side of the road when the accident happened.
He said a hospital blood test showed the defendant, had 102 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, the legal limit is 80 milligrams.
But Mr Dyble said it was "likely" the level of alcohol at the time of the accident was double the legal limit.
The blood test was ruled inadmissible as evidence because it breached police procedures when it was taken without the defendant's knowledge, the court heard.
Relatives of the dead men were in court but declined to comment on the sentence.

Haverhill Weekly News

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