Cumbria

Woman 'drove wrong way on M6' near Kendal in dark

A woman has admitted a "catastrophic driving error" which saw her drive the wrong way along the M6 in Cumbria in the dark.

Stunned oncoming drivers took desperate steps to avoid Samantha McClelland as she drove south near Kendal in October 2012, Carlisle Crown Court was told.

Several panicked 999 calls were made before the 43-year-old was found parked up on the hard shoulder.

She was given a suspended jail term and banned from driving for 18 months.

McClelland, of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, had earlier admitted a charge of dangerous driving.

'Exceptionally dangerous'

The court heart that when she was spoken to by police she had "no idea where she was and seemed surprised to be told she was on a motorway".

Prosecutor Amanda Johnston said: "Fortunately no damage to any other vehicle or collision was caused, and it was said that the driving lasted for about five or six minutes before the defendant realised and pulled in."

Lucy Wright, defending, said McClelland had committed a "catastrophic driving error" and expressed remorse.

Recorder Michael Murray handed her a one-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and banned her from the road for 18 months.

He told her: "It really was an exceptionally dangerous piece of driving which could have easily had terrible, fatal consequences."

The court heard that a "communication breakdown" had been blamed for the lengthy delay in the matter being heard.

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