AN EVESHAM driver who ploughed into the back of a young Redditch moped rider, throwing her 80 metres down the road and killing her instantly, has avoided being sent to jail.
After initially trying to blame innocent victim Emma Flatley for the collision, Ryan Ireland pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing her death by careless driving.
The 21-one-year-old teaching assistant died after being struck by Ireland’s Vauxhall Zafira as she was riding on a dual carriageway section of the A46 on October 28 last year.
Ireland, 23, of St Catherine’s Road, Evesham, was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.
Prosecutor Caroline Bray said the tragic collision took place as Emma, whose moped was limited to 30mph, was riding south on the dual carriageway between Oversley Mill and Salford Priors.
It was dusk, but although she was wearing dark clothes, she had a high-visibility belt and sash on, and the lights on the moped were on.
Ireland was driving his Zafira at 65-70mph, which was within the speed limit, heading in the same direction, and the driver in front of him pulled out to go past Emma.
“This defendant did not. The collision report details show there was no attempt to avoid the collision, no attempt to move or to brake. It was only after he had struck her that there was any braking.”
Samuel Hopkins, who was behind Ireland and had seen the moped, saw the collision in which Emma suffered catastrophic injuries.
She had traumatic injuries to her head, back and body, but it was a broken neck which caused her death, and Judge Andrew Lockhart commented: “Mercifully, she suffered little.”
Emma’s aunt Theresa Flatley read out a statement from her parents Vince and Sue, in which they spoke of their daughter’s ‘loyalty, honesty and selflessness.’
Keen on sport, the Aston Villa fan had played for the Redditch United girls’ team, and as a youth leader and teaching assistant working with children with special needs, had coached the youngsters at football.
Lee Masters, defending, said: “Mr Ireland and his family understand fully that any words of Mr Ireland expressing his remorse will do little to assuage the tragedy and the effect it has had on Miss Flatley’s family.
“He will have to live the rest of his life knowing he has cut short such a productive and promising life.”
Judge Lockhart, who had already rejected Ireland’s basis of plea that it had been the result of momentary inattention, said an aggravating feature was him trying to blame Emma by suggesting she had been weaving in and out.
Sentencing Ireland, Judge Lockhart told him: “This world is a far poorer place for her passing. She did absolutely nothing wrong.
“Emma was plainly visible, and you should have seen her. ou failed to brake, and you failed to manoeuvre.”
But he observed that Ireland had remained at the scene and tried to call the emergency services, and added: “I take the view that, looking at all matters in the round, the appropriate way to deal with it is to reduce the sentence to four months and suspend it.”