Drink driving special needs teacher, 26, is jailed for 28 months for killing plasterer, 28, after crashing her mother’s BMW into a tree while they were on their first date
- Lauren Iles, 26, lost control of mother’s car as she raced another car in St Albans
- She crashed the BMW into a tree, killing Michael McMahon in her passenger seat
- The trainee special needs teacher was over one and a half times drink drive limit
- She was jailed for 28 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving
A woman drink driver who killed her passenger on their first date has been jailed for 28 months.
Lauren Iles, 26, lost control of her mother’s BMW as she raced another car and crashed into a tree, killing Michael McMahon, 28.
The trainee special needs teacher, who escaped with only minor injuries, was found to be over one and a half times the drink drive limit.
She appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, having pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Michael McMahon (pictured), 28. died after Lauren Iles, 26, lost control of her mother’s BMW as she raced another car and crashed into a tree in St Albans
Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann told St Albans crown court: ‘The defendant and Mr McMahon, who was known as Mikey, went on a date on Sunday 18 November 2018. It was their first date. The two spent the day together.’
Ms Iles, from Leighton Buzzard, told police she had drunk a Corona in the day and had two glasses of rosé of an unknown size at the Inn On The Green in Harpenden.
She drove her mother’s BMW out of Harpenden at 11pm and Mr McMahon, who was due to start work as a plastering teacher, was in the front seat wearing his seat belt.
The driver of a Suzuki Alto said a silver Golf followed by a black BMW sped past him at ‘about 80mph’ in a 60mph zone. He told police he thought they were racing.
Iles drove on the wrong side of the road as she passed bollards near the entrance to the Luton Hoo Hotel before the road bent to the right.
Mr Weidmann told the court: ‘She remained in the southbound lane for several hundred metres and lost control while trying to rejoin the correct lane.
Iles appeared at St Albans Crown Court (pictured) today, having pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving
‘In seeking to rejoin her lane, the car rotated anti-clockwise and travelled sideways. It hit a dustbin with a concrete base, the rear of the vehicle hit a tree and it rotated clockwise, coming to rest 18 metres from the trees and 15 metres from the edge of carriageway.’
The other driver called the emergency services before leaving the scene. Mr McMahon, from Luton, died from a broken neck and a bleed to the brain.
Iles was taken to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital where a blood-alcohol calculation for the time of the crash was 136 – over one and a half times the drink drive limit.
Tyre marks at the scene put her speed at between 72 and 95mph – between 12 and 35 mph above the speed limit.
Mr Weidmann continued: ‘This was a determined effort to complete an overtaking manoeuvre at high speed going into a blind bend.
‘There was ample opportunity for common sense to prevail, for Ms Iles to slow down and back out of the manoeuvre.’
In a police interview she said she had tried to overtake the Volkswagen Golf that had sped past her. She said she had panicked as she approached the corner.
In a tribute statement, Mr McMahon’s family said: ‘It is so sad to lose a life so young. Mikey was a much-loved son, brother, nephew, grandson, cousin, uncle and stepson.
‘He was a vibrant, fun-loving character with a great sense of humour. He had the world at his feet, with plans to start a new career in teaching after Christmas.’
Defending, Will Noble said that Iles – who cried in the dock – suffered remorse and shame.
She has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts had led her to being hospitalised.
He said: ‘She refuses therapy and believes she deserves to suffer. It was a happy day involving two young people getting to know each other. A poor decision was made at the spur of the moment.’
Judge Michael Simon said: ‘Nothing the court says or does can alleviate the tremendous pain felt by the family of Michael McMahon, the victim in this case. He was a young man with everything to live for. ‘
He told Iles: ‘You were driving at excessive speed and whether you knew it or not, were over the drink drive limit.
‘This was more than a momentary lapse. You were seeking to complete an inherently dangerous manoeuvre.
‘There was excessive speed and you were well over the limit for alcohol. It was driving that created a substantial risk of danger.’
In passing the sentence and banning her from driving for 3 years, the judge said he accepted her ‘untrammelled grief and remorse’, the state of her mental health and her ‘exemplary character.’
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