Driver walks free after crash verdict

Fatal RTA at Platt Street, Platt Bridge - flowers and cards at the scene
Fatal RTA at Platt Street, Platt Bridge - flowers and cards at the scene

AN “amber gambler” bus driver tragically caused the death of a woman who had just got off his bus, a court has heard.

Stephanie Talbot was apparently texting on her mobile phone as she started using the traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing and Simon Draper saw her too late to avoid a collision.

A judge imposed a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years on Draper but told him: “It comes at a price.”

“You will have to live, just as Miss Talbot’s family will have to live, with the fact that this girl died because you were careless,” said Judge Clement Goldstone, QC.

“You will live with that for the rest of your life as indeed you should have to live with it for the rest of your life.”

Draper, of Sycamore Avenue, Beech Hill, Wigan, stood in the dock wiping away tears as he was sentenced.

The 32-year-old, who had taken a suitcase with him into the dock in anticipation of going to prison, had pleaded guilty to causing the 30-year-old’s death by careless driving.

Miss Talbot’s parents were not present in court as they live in New Zealand and could not face the journey but her grandmother and younger brother sat in the public gallery.

The court heard the tragedy occurred at around 8.30am last October when Ms Talbot, of Golbourne, alighted Draper’s bus on Platt Street in Platt Bridge. Witnesses say Draper accelerated through an amber light, hitting Ms Talbot, who suffered a serious head, neck and chest injuries and died at the scene.

The bus driver initially told police his brakes had failed but crash investigators found that while the nearside brake was out of adjustment that did not contribute to the accident.

Patrick Williamson, defending, said Draper, who was also given a six-month curfew order, had been profoundly affected by Ms Talbot’s death and was genuinely full of remorse and regret.