Reading text message killer driver jailed

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Christine Lyon
Image caption,
Grandmother Christine Lyon died at the scene of the crash

A teenage driver who ploughed into a woman in Reading moments after receiving a text message has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Keisha Wall, 19, veered off Forbury Road into the path of 63-year-old Christine Lyon in February 2010.

The crash happened while she was driving with her driving instructor mother, months after passing her test.

Wall, of Alston Walk, Caversham, was found guilty last month of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mrs Lyon, of Furze Platt, Maidenhead, Berkshire, died of her injuries at the scene, despite being treated by a passing doctor.

At Reading Crown Court, Judge Stephen John described Wall as "an intelligent, hard-working, decent and caring young woman from a close-knit family", but added "this was a wholly avoidable accident, and only you are to blame".

'Lenient sentence'

Wall was also disqualified from driving for three years.

Mrs Lyon's family said after the sentencing: "We are relieved that the criminal prosecution is over although, for us, as a family, it will never be over and in that context, we do feel that the sentence was lenient.

"We have lost a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend but because of his disability, our father has also lost his carer. That love and care can never be replaced.

"The fact that Keisha Wall denied liability just added insult to injury. We have never had an apology.

Image caption,
Keisha Wall denied causing death by dangerous driving during her trial

"We do hope that some lessons will be learnt from this and that drivers will think twice before using mobile phones whilst driving.

"We also urge the government through the police to take action to stop needless deaths such as this."

During the trial the court heard a police investigation showed Wall, who was 18 at the time of the crash, had been sent a text message seconds before the crash.

Prosecuting, Charles Ward-Jackson said police seized the phone and found the text message had been read - although it was impossible to tell when.

Wall had been driving home from the Oracle Shopping Centre at the wheel of a Suzuki Jimny, which she had received as a Christmas present just weeks before.

The jury heard that when interviewed by police Miss Wall said she had been distracted by another car overtaking her on the dual carriageway.

She also told officers her mother, a driving instructor who had taught her to drive, might have grabbed the wheel.

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