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Sunday, 15 September

Six Years in Prison for Death while Texting

Following a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court, Craig Eccleston-Todd, 27, of Clifford Street, Newport, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced just days ago to six years in prison.

For the record, he was also disqualified from driving for eight years, after which time he will have to complete an extended re-test.

Eccleston-Todd, 27, from Newport, Isle of Wight, had been drinking with friends on 11 October 2013 and was driving home when he received a text message.

The police report stated that as he was reading or replying, to the message, his car went across the white line on a bend on the A3054 at Bouldnor, near Yarmouth and hit another vehicle head on. This was driven by Rachel Titley, 28, from Cowes. She suffered a serious head injury and was taken to hospital but was later pronounced dead.

Eccleston-Todd’s Citroen was on the wrong side of the road at the time of the collision that evening and it was believed he had drunk as much as three or four pints of lager.

PC Mark Furse from Hampshire Constabulary’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said that Ms Titley had been out with friends at a pub in Shalfleet that evening but had not had any alcohol. The police investigation showed that there was nothing she could have done to avoid the collision.

PC Furse went on to state in court that she was returning home when the collision occurred at around 9.30pm. “We weren’t able to take breath or blood tests from him [Eccleston-Todd] immediately and although blood taken several hours after the collision showed he was marginally under the limit, we maintain he would have been over the limit at the time of the collision.”

In his summing up, the judge agreed with the police. “The analysis of his phone records showed that he was texting on his phone around the time of the collision so it’s highly likely this would have contributed to his dangerous driving and loss of control.

“Mr Eccleston-Todd will now spend six years behind bars but Rachel’s family have lost her forever. I hope this will make people think twice before drinking any alcohol and getting behind the wheel or using a phone once they're on the road.

“The dangers of drink driving and driving whilst using a mobile phone are obvious. Those who continue to do so risk spending a substantial time in prison. This case highlights just how tragic the consequences of committing these offences can be.”

 

Pictured: Craig Eccleston-Todd found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to six years in prison

Article written by Mike Gannon

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