Man admits to causing death

Tragic: Wendy Hartley with her granddaughter Amy.
Tragic: Wendy Hartley with her granddaughter Amy.

A motorist has been convicted of causing the death of a retired Garstang teacher on a busy Great Eccleston by-pass, through driving a jeep without insurance.

However an investigation into the crash revealed the true cause was probably mud on the road which caused the victim’s husband’s car to skid, a court was told.

Roy Holden, of Argyle Drive, Poulton, the 58-year-old driver of a Suzuki Jeep involved in the incident, admitted causing the death of Wendy Hartley, 63, by driving without insurance.

The charge relates to the fact Holden’s car should not have been on the roadsin the first place as it was not insured, and not the 
standard of his driving.

District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court banned Holden from 
driving instantly but adjourned further sentencing so probation reports can be prepared on him.

Jane Yates, prosecuting, said William Hartley and his wife Wendy, a retired teacher from Cabus, near Garstang, had been travelling along the A586 in a 50mph limit near Great Eccleston.

The weather was poor and the road surface near the scene of the crash was mud covered, probably caused by tractors leaving a field.

Mr Hartley’s Citroen car lost control and skidded hitting Mr Holden’s jeep which was travelling in the opposite direction.

Mrs Hartley died from severe injuries at Royal Preston Hospital.

Mrs Hartley, who worked across Garstang and Preston, was described by her family as a “much-loved” wife, daughter, mother and grandmother.

When interviewed by police Holden admitted he had no insurance.

He told officers he thought he could drive as long as he was on his way to a vehicle MoT test but this is not the case.

The judge heard he had another vehicle in his ownership was which properly insured.

Robert Castle, defending, said: “My client is deeply sorry for what happened and it has had a considerable effect on him. He sends his condolences to the family.

“He now knows he was wrong over the insurance issue.”

tragic: Wendy Hartley with her granddaughter Amy