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Think about the consequences: Tragic plea from the family of grandad killed by texting driver as she escapes jail to look after elderly mother
Stuart Mather died after he was hit by Kay Nolan's car in Higham, LancsNolan had stopped in a lay-by to write a text to an employee
But hit send moments after pulling away and hit Mr Maher
He was thrown into the air and hit by another car as he landed in the roadNolan was handed a 40-week suspended prison sentence
09:53 GMT, 18 December 2012
A motorist who killed a dog walker moments after sending a text message wept yesterday as she escaped a jail sentence.
Dentist Kay Nolan, 45, had pulled over in a layby to compose a reply to a work colleague on her mobile phone but did not send it until she had driven off again.
As she did so she clipped Stuart Mather with her wing mirror and knocked him over as he walked his Scottish terrier dog, Hamish
Sentence: Kay Nolan, left, was sentenced to a 40-week suspended jail term after her car hit Stuart Mather, right. Mr Maher was hit by a second car and died
Both he and his pet were crushed by a car travelling behind.
Mr Mather, a 60-year-old grandfather, was taken by air ambulance to hospital but died later and his beloved dog also perished.
His family condemned those who use their mobiles at the wheel for failing to recognise the risks.
Mr Mather’s son, Alex, said: ‘All too often in this day and age people are too interested in their mobile phones – but you can wait or you can pull over.
Grieving: Stuart Mather's son Alex said that the sentence was 'acceptable' but 'never going to be enough' outside Preston Crown Court
‘Just think about what you’re doing,
think about the consequences and the impact that it has. All this was
the result of sending a text message, something that could have been
deemed avoidable.’ He said: ‘No sentence was ever going to be enough. We
were left with no opportunity to say goodbye.
‘He had always wanted a granddaughter but she was born two months after he died and now she will never be able to meet him.’
Preston Crown Court heard the tragedy occurred at 5.20pm on June 6 last year as Nolan was driving home from work.
She had been sent a text message by a work colleague asking for a day off and she pulled into a layby to compose her reply.
But instead of sending it immediately she set off again and only pressed the send button as she approached Mr Mather.
As she did so an eyewitness saw Nolan brake and swerve in a bid to avoid a collision but she clipped Mr Mather with her wing mirror.
He was knocked over and crushed under the wheels of another car travelling behind at an accident blackspot in Higham, Lancashire.
It later emerged Nolan, a divorced mother-of-one, had tried to save his life by attempting resuscitation at the roadside.
But as she waited for the police to arrive she also deleted the offending text. Nolan, who works as a dentist at a practice near Burnley, had been facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum 14-year prison sentence.
But lawyers allowed her to plead guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, which carries a maximum five-year sentence.
She wept as she was given a 40-week prison term suspended for a year and was ordered to carry out 150 hours of community work. She was also banned from driving for 12 months.
Leaving court: Kay Nolan pictured leaving the court today, left. Mr Mather's family warned motorists to consider the consequences before texting at the wheel
Nolan escaped a jail sentence mainly on the basis there was no one to care for her elderly mother and her 12-year-old daughter.
Judge Rabinder Singh told her: ‘This was a short distraction and albeit one that you shouldn’t have been engaged in because it was in itself an unlawful act.
‘Nothing that this court says or does can possibly provide adequate consolation to the family and friends of Mr Mather. This is truly a tragic and sad death.’