King’s Lynn lorry driver spared jail after causing death of elderly woman

Court News
Court News

A Lynn lorry driver who caused the death of an elderly woman driver in a horror crash at Chelmsford has been spared jail.

Maris Anismovs, 43, of Dukes Place, Fairstead, was given a 12-month community order with 200 hours’ unpaid work, and a year-long driving ban by a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving over an incident in Chelmsford on April 18, 2016.

The court was told the crash happened when Anismovs was changing lanes on a roundabout in his 18 tonne Mercedes HGV and failed to see a Skoda car on his nearside in a dedicated lane.

It ended up crossing the central reservation of the dual carriageway, flying up in the air and landing on the front of a Vauxhall Astra driven by Daphne Saich.

Mrs Saich, who was 84, died in hospital 16 days later in hospital from bronchial pneumonia due to chest injuries received in the crash.

Family man Anismovs has been a lorry driver for 25 years with a clean licence and this was his first accident, the court was told.

Sentencing him, Judge Charles Gratwicke said: “I accept there was a momentary lapse in your driving and no-one will ever know why you executed the manoeuvre when it was unsafe to do so. The consequence was tragic.

“Mrs Saich lost her life and her family lost a beloved wife and mother. There is nothing this court can do that can in any way mitigate the loss and pain that they are undoubtedly suffering.”

The judge said he accepted that Anismovs was “clearly devastated” by what had happened.

But he rejected defence arguments that there were special reasons why Anismovs should not receive the mandatory 12 month minimum disqualification.

Defence counsel Charles Mynott said it would mean the loss of his job for at least four years. He told the court Anismovs prided himself of being a meticulous driver, had never had an accident before, and was highly regarded by his employer.

Describing what happened, prosecutor Carolyn Gardiner told the court the Skoda had been in an dedicated lane of the roundabout near the Essex County Cricket ground, when the lorry collided with it.

She said: “The Skoda continued directly into the path of the Vauxhall Astra. It made no contact with the surface of the carriageway. It had been elevated and effectively landed on the front of the Vauxhall.

“Another vehicle was to the nearside of Mrs Saich and it prevented any possibility of her swerving to the left even if she had been aware of the Skoda.”

Anismovs told police he needed to change lanes. He waited for a Transit to pass and looked in his mirrors.

His statement said: “I didn’t see anyone there any more. Then I turned on indication light and started to change lanes. Turning the wheel to the left I could hear some noise on the left side tyre.

“The next thing I saw on roadside were this car lying over the middle reservation on opposite driving lane and that’s when I understood something was not right. Then I stopped.”

He added: “I didn’t see the Skoda at all.”

In mitigation, Mr Mynott said: “He is devastated to have caused Mrs Saich’s death and wishes to express such sympathies as can be made by someone who has through their driving caused the death of a loved mother and wife.”

He added: “As far as he was concerned he was performing all the checks to perform a safe manoeuvre.”