Tuesday 24 October 2017

Baby could have survived crash if he had been properly restrained – court

Alistair Keely

A YOUNG mother sobbed in court today as she heard her baby son might have survived a car crash if he had been properly restrained in his seat.

Sophie Boyeldieu received a suspended prison sentence after admitting causing the death of her 17-month-old son by careless driving.

Boyeldieu, 21, was seen driving erratically for a mile before swerving across the carriageway into the path of an oncoming Renault minibus.

York Crown Court, sitting at Harrogate Magistrates' Court, was told her son Aidan was not properly strapped into his car seat and may have survived the impact if he had been.

Boyeldieu was driving on the A63 Selby bypass with her future husband John Grice when for some "inexplicable" reason she lost control of the Honda Jazz they were travelling in.

The court was told Boyeldieu had on an earlier occasion been caught speeding and had the option of going on a speed awareness course, an invitation she declined to take up.

Recorder Eric Elliott QC said Boyeldieu would be mentally scarred for the rest of her life.

"You not only caused the death of a young child, but caused injuries to others.

"It is a very great shame that you did not take advantage of the driving awareness course. You might not be here today and your young son might still be alive."

Prosecuting Olivia Checa-Dover said Boyeldieu was travelling at between 50 and 60mph when her vehicle was seen weaving and crossing onto the other side of the road.

The prosecutor said the impact of the crash flipped the Honda onto its roof, causing fatal injuries to her baby son.

A police officer tried to resuscitate the youngster at the scene and he was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where he later died.

The barrister said an expert looked at the car seat and straps used to restrain the child and concluded he was not properly secured.

She told the court: "He was of the view Aidan had not been strapped into the car seat properly, in that the straps were too loose allowing free movement of the upper body.

"If Aidan had been properly strapped in it might have prevented his death," she told the court.

Robert Underwood, for Boyeldieu, said his client was struggling to cope with her loss.

He said she had no memory of the crash or what may have caused it.

He said: "Here we are really left in the dark. This woman cannot recall what happened that day.

"She has paid the ultimate price. That day in April for this young lady and her family will never, ever be forgotten."

Turning to the judge, he added: "Whatever you choose to do with this young lady she will forever be haunted by what happened on that April day in 2O11.

"She is particularly tormented at the suggestion that her failure to strap baby Aidan into the chair securely could have played some part in the tragedy. That is something she is struggling to cope with."

Boyeldieu, of Honeysuckle Close in Selby, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

She was also disqualified from driving for two years and must take an extended driving test.

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