Two men sentenced to total of 23 years in prison after reckless driving caused death of Joanne Collinge

Lewis Fisher
Lewis Fisher

Two men who whose reckless driving caused the death of a mother in Wigan have been jailed.

Joseph Pownall, 27, of Pennine Way, Golborne and Lewis Fisher, 21, of Poolstock Lane, Wigan were sentenced to 12 years and 11 years respectively in prison.

A third man, Steven Fairclough, 42, of Elm Avenue, Golborne was sentenced to 12 months in custody suspended for 12 months for attempting to cover-up Pownall’s involvement in the crash.

Pownall parked a grey Volkswagen Amarok outside the Bryn Hall Public House on Bolton Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield just after 5.30pm on Saturday April 20.

Fisher’s silver Mercedes parked nearby on Bolton Road a few minutes later, whereafter a man got out the vehicle and threw an object at Pownall’s Volkswagen, smashing the nearside window before driving off.

Pownall left the pub and pursued Fisher’s Mercedes, with both vehicles travelling in excess of 75mph in a 30mph zone along Bickershaw Lane.

Joseph Pownall

Joseph Pownall

On a left-hand turn near the junction with Brown Street, both cars strayed into the opposing carriageway, where Fisher’s Mercedes collided head-on with a VW Polo being driven in the opposite direction.

The driver, 34-year-old mother-of-five, Joanne Collinge, died and three others travelling in the car were left injured – two seriously.

Pownall failed to stop at the scene and abandoned the vehicle nearby. Thereafter, he contacted Fairclough who conspired to falsely report the vehicle stolen.

Sergeant Joseph Barron from GMP Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “I can only hope that as they begin their custodial sentences the true gravity of their actions and the lasting effect it will have on all those involved will sink in.

“My thoughts are with the family of Mrs Collinge and with those still recovering from the incident. One of her daughter’s received life-changing injuries as a result of the collision.

“Also injured were another of Mrs Collinge’s daughters and her husband.

“The collision has affected their whole family and I hope today’s sentence will go some way towards helping them grieve and come to terms with their loss.

“Both Pownall and Fisher initially denied responsibility for the death of Mrs Collinge, and failed to take any responsibility for their actions.

“It was only when met with the irrefutable evidence of his guilt at his second Crown Court appearance that Pownall admitted his guilt.

“The evidence against them has been tirelessly collected and compiled by GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit. Fisher has never taken responsibility for his actions – forcing the family to endure the further upset of this going to trial.”

Pownall was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of Justice. Fisher was sentenced to 11 years after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Fairclough was given a one-year suspended sentence.