Somerset

Crash death accused Caroline Meeking 'pulled handbrake'

A Somerset woman accused of killing her husband in a car crash has told a court she pulled on the handbrake because she wanted to get out of the car.

Caroline Meeking, 45, from Illminster, told Bristol Crown Court she had no wish to hurt either herself or husband Alan, 49, who she had been rowing with.

The action sent their Ford Escort into a spin and it collided with a car coming in the opposite direction. Mr Meeking was declared dead at the scene.

She denies manslaughter.

The couple were driving home to Somerset after spending the day drinking in Bridport, Dorset.

'My fault'

Mrs Meeking told jurors that an argument began after they took a wrong turn at a roundabout.

"He started shouting at me, calling me 'Satnav with no batteries' and a 'total waste of space,'" she said.

"We were arguing and it just escalated from there."

Between them the couple had drunk two bottles of rose wine and four or five pints of lager before driving home on 30 August, 2010, the court was told.

Blood tests carried out afterwards found that Mr Meeking had a blood alcohol level of 168mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

"I thought if I put the handbrake on it would slow the car down and I could get out. He could then go off and do whatever he wanted to do," she added.

The crash happened on the A3088 at Montacute, near Yeovil.

Motorists who came to the couple's aid described her shouting repeatedly: "I am sorry, it's all my fault. That's my husband, it's all my fault.

"He didn't want me no more and I just grabbed the handbrake."

The witnesses also told police they did not believe Mr Meeking was driving with his headlights on.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday when Judge Neil Ford QC will begin summing up.

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