South West Wales

Pregnant driver cleared of causing Carmarthen death crash

Laura Matthew-James Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Laura Matthew-James was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving

A driver who lost her unborn baby after a head-on crash which killed a man has been cleared of causing the crash.

Laura Matthews-James, 35, from Pen-y-groes, Carmarthenshire, was seven months pregnant when her Fiat 500 collided with Robert Hitchcock's car on 26 February 2016.

Swansea Crown Court heard she had no memory of the crash on the B4300 and denied taking a risk by overtaking.

She had denied causing death by driving without due care and attention.

Ms Matthews-James, a biomedical scientist, had been on her way to work when she crashed into 54-year-old Mr Hitchcock.

He was killed instantly and she was airlifted to hospital where doctors discovered her baby had died and she had an emergency Caesarean section.

The week-long trial heard Ms Matthews-James crashed after overtaking two other vehicles as she headed to work at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen.

"In doing so she lost control of her vehicle and collided, head on, with an oncoming car which was being driven by Mr Hitchcock," said prosecutor Jim Davies.

"Her injuries includes fractured ankles and haemorrhages in the brain.

"A Caesarean operation was also performed by surgeons and returned a stillborn baby."

'Post-traumatic stress'

She told the jury she had no memory of the crash but denied taking risks with her driving.

She said: "I wouldn't take any risks because I was pregnant."

During the trial the jury heard that the defendant had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder following the combination of the crash and losing her unborn son.

Defence barrister Ignatius Hughes QC read out a statement from a psychologist who said Ms Matthew-James had been left in a "fragile and stressed" emotional state.

The statement said: "She has said she doesn't want to bring a child into the world because in her words 'I've killed my baby'."

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