Woman jailed for causing deaths of 'loving' couple in crash

Andrew and Jean Crawford who were killed in a crash on the A1075 at Great Hockham in August 2019.

Andrew and Jean Crawford who were killed in a crash on the A1075 at Great Hockham in August 2019. - Credit: Supplied by Norfolk Constabulary

An unlicensed driver with a previous conviction who killed a couple in a Norfolk crash had been on her way to visit a friend in prison, a court has heard. 

Andrew and Jean Crawford of Saham Road, Watton, died when their Kia Rio was involved in a crash with a blue Peugeot 206 on the A1075 at Great Hockham on August 28, 2019.

Andrew and Jean Crawford who were killed in a crash on the A1075 at Hockham. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Andrew and Jean Crawford who were killed in a crash on the A1075 at Hockham. PIC: Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

Mr Crawford, 72, died at the scene while Mrs Crawford, 74, later died from her injuries after being taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Their family has described them as "loving" parents and spoke after the sentencing of their heartbreak of not being able to say goodbye.

Chantelle Miller, 33, had been on her way up from London with her 12-year-old daughter, who was a front seat passenger, to see a friend at Wayland Prison when the crash happened.

David Wilson, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said the crash happened at about 1.13pm on August 28, 2019, on a fine and dry day.

Mr Wilson said the defendant’s vehicle, for a “wholly inexplicable reason”, drifted over the broken white line into the opposite carriageway and into the path of the couple's Kia. 

He said a police investigation was carried out into the fatal crash and found “a period of inattention” by Miller was the most likely cause of the crash.

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Miller, who herself was injured in the crash and appeared at court on crutches, made no comment in interview but provided a prepared statement in which she said she had no recollection of the crash.

It also stated she does not drink, had not been on her phone and had not been overtired at the time.

Miller, from London, appeared at court on Wednesday (September 8) to be sentenced after having previously admitted two counts of causing death by careless driving.

Norwich Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court. - Credit: Judd

Before she was sentenced the court heard an impact statement read out on behalf of daughter Deborah, representing her sisters and sister-in-law, which said they had “lost the heart and soul of our family”.

She said the loss the family felt has “changed our lives forever” and described how “heartache has torn through our family”.

The couple’s son Mark said the deaths of his parents had “left a huge hole in our lives”.

He said their deaths had affected his daughter, who was five at the time, and now thinks her mum and dad will have an accident just like nanny and granddad.

Jailing Miller for 12 months Judge Alice Robinson said the defendant, an unlicensed driver, had been committing an offence "simply by getting behind the wheel of your car".

And despite having a previous driving conviction and only being a provisional licence holder, Judge Robinson said she had chosen to drive up from London to visit a friend at Wayland Prison.

But the judge said no sentence she imposed could bring back Mr and Mrs Crawford and described the victim statements read by their family as "heartbreaking".

In a statement issued after the sentencing hearing, the family of Mr and Mrs Crawford said: "Nothing could of prepared any of us for the tragedy that unfolded that day.

"The heartache of not being able say goodbye to a loving caring dad and then running through the hospital to say our final goodbye to a wonderful, loving mum. Nothing is the same without them. We miss them so much."

Shiraz Rustom, mitigating for Miller, a mother-of-three who wiped away tears as she was sentenced, said she was frustrated that if she apologised it would be like she was making excuses and there was nothing she could do “to make the situation better”.

He said Miller had been coming from her home in London to visit a friend in prison at Wayland.

He said following the crash Miller spent a month in hospital, suffered a broken leg and has since had to have a hip replacement.

Mr Rustom added she was an unlicensed driver at the time but will “never ever be driving again”.

Miller was also disqualified from driving for three years.

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