Wales

Flintshire mother criticises death crash prosecution

A mother has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after being cleared of causing the death of her young son by careless driving.

Karen Evans, 36, of Mancot, Flintshire said prosecutors were "blinkered" despite being asked by a judge through "common humanity" to reconsider the case.

Her son Jordan, 11, died last April.

The judge told the jury it was a verdict he agreed with. The CPS said it considered the case "very carefully".

Mrs Evans had told the jury at Mold Crown Court she was forced to take emergency action because of a steering fault while driving with her family on the A55 in April 2010.

The prosecution had claimed she was in a rush and suddenly decided to leave the carriageway to refuel.

In a statement, Mrs Evans said: "It's been a year of immeasurable pain" but she bore no grudges.

She said she could understand why the accident was fully investigated but "never" why the CPS persisted with the prosecution.

Mrs Evans said the CPS knew from a police expert there was a fault with her car's steering and could not understand why the CPS "chose to ignore" evidence from one of her daughters suggesting that there was a fault.

She added: "It has felt as if the more they were asked by judges out of common humanity to review the case and reconsider their decision to pursue the prosecution, the more blinkered and entrenched the CPS became."

Judge Peter Heywood, at Mold Crown Court, said he entirely agreed with the verdict and described the case as being an "awful ordeal" for Ms Evans.

Before the trial began on Monday, Judge Heywood had questioned whether, given the mother's loss, a trial in which she would have to re-live the events of her son's death was in the public interest.

He said: "Whatever the outcome of the trial, this is going to cause her considerable grief for the rest of her life.

"She is going to have to live with the consequences for the rest of her life.

"I'm simply expressing views of, perhaps, common humanity as a father myself. It must be a decision for the prosecution (but) I question whether this is in the public interest."

The Crown Prosecution Service responded by saying the case was in the "wider public interest".

After releasing Mrs Evans from the dock on Thursday, the judge told the jurors he "entirely agreed" with their decision.

He said: "It has been an awful ordeal for her - having lost a son and then having to go through a trial."

Nick Price, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North Wales, said: "This has been a very difficult and sensitive case to deal with and we fully respect the verdict reached by the jury.

"We recognise that Karen Evans lost her son as a result of the incident and we appreciate the dreadful impact this has had on both her and the rest of Jordan's family.

"We have considered this case very carefully from the outset in the light of those circumstances.

Image caption Jordan Evans died at the scene, the court was told

"However, we believe that the standard of driving demonstrated that day by Karen Evans warranted a prosecution in accordance with CPS national policy for prosecuting cases of bad driving.

"We did not take that decision lightly and in doing so we very carefully considered both the evidence in the case and the wider public interest in bringing a prosecution."

Mrs Evans had told the trial that when the Vauxhall Corsa developed a fault she had to leave the A55 quickly before she killed "all my children or somebody else's".

The trial has previously heard that her two daughters, Levi, 18 and Lilly May, three, were also in the car.

On Wednesday, she told the jury: "I just knew if I got the car off I wouldn't hit the central reservation or the other cars, killing all my children or somebody else's."

The jury also heard from Mrs Evans' daughter, Levi, who said she had no concerns about her mother's driving that day.

She had been putting a CD in the car stereo when the vehicle started veering left to right, then shaking.

Speaking after the case, Cardiff barrister Andrew Taylor said the CPS were wrong to proceed with the prosecution.

He said: "I think there's no courage within the CPS to drop a case sometimes, even when they have little or zero chances of conviction.

"In this case, the lady concerned had not been drinking, she had not taken drugs and she had no previous convictions. It was just one momentary lapse in concentration."

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