A student has been spared jail after a "momentary lapse of attention" caused the death of her best friend in a car crash.

Bethany Sanders, 22, was distracted on June 17, 2017, as she drove to buy a Father's Day card from Morrisons in Hadleigh, Suffolk.

Her Vauxhall Corsa left the road and hit a fence which pierced her windscreen and hit her friend Isabelle Cottrell, 17, who was a front passenger.

Bricklaying student Miss Cottrell who was known as Izzy suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by an air ambulance doctor.

Lori Tucker, prosecuting, said there was no evidence Sanders had been under the influence of drink or drugs or that she had been using her mobile phone.

The court heard how an accident investigator had concluded that something in the car had caused Sanders to look away from the road just before the collision.

Sanders from Boxford in Suffolk, who has no previous convictions, admitted causing death by careless driving, and was banned from driving for two years.

She was also given a five month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, 150 hours unpaid work and a 30 day rehabilitation activity order.

Judge Martyn Levett told her: "You will forever live with the memory that you killed your friend.

"I'm sure something happened in the car and caused you to be distracted.

"You must realise that this tragic case leaves a mother and a father without a daughter and three siblings without their sister."

The court heard how Sanders' car had gone up a verge bounced on rough grass before returning to the road.

It veered again towards the centre of the road, causing an oncoming motorcyclist to fear it was going to hit him.

The Corsa swerved back to the correct side, but then hit a sleeper at the entrance to a driveway before colliding with a hedge, a wooden post and rail fence.

Phillip Farr, defending Sanders, said the accident was caused by a "momentary lapse of attention".

He added: "She will for the rest of her life bear the weight of losing her best friend."

Following the case, the family of Miss Cottrell paid tribute to her in a poem read outside the court by Sgt Scott Lee-Amies of Suffolk Police.

Her family described her at the time of her death as a "phenomenal, beautiful, strong willed person, who will be truly missed by all her family and friends.

They added in a statement: "She was a wonderful typical teenager, who will leave a hole in everyone's lives that will never be filled."

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