Northants woman caused fatal crash days after being told by doctor not to drive

Stephanie Oakenfull, of PIddington, has been jailed for six years after she caused a fatal car crash
Stephanie Oakenfull, of PIddington, has been jailed for six years after she caused a fatal car crash
  • Stephanie Oakenfull has been jailed for six years at Birmingham Crown Court
  • Oakenfull, of Piddington, admitted causing death by dangerous driving
  • Court heard she had been told by doctor not to drive after suffering blackouts
  • Judge Mark Wall QC said Oakenfull ‘should not have been driving’

A speeding driver from a village near Northampton has been jailed for six years after she caused a fatal car crash just days after being ordered by doctors not to drive.

Stephanie Oakenfull, aged 28, of Piddington, was found to be nearly twice the drink-drive limit four hours after the head-on collision which killed Kay Smith, aged 53.

Birmingham Crown Court heard Oakenfull drove her Vauxhall Corsa on February 21 last year a matter of days after her GP told her not to get behind the wheel.

She also failed to notify the DVLA of a mystery condition which caused her to suffer from blackouts, blurred vision and memory loss.

Mrs Smith died of chest injuries following the crash in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

Officers who attended the scene found a bottle of vodka in the front of Oakenfull’s car and later discovered she was using her mobile phone minutes before the collision.

On Friday, Oakenfull was jailed for six years at Birmingham Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

She also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop after a road accident, failing to report a road accident and driving without due care and attention.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Wall QC said: “You were aware and telling members of your family in the days leading up to this appalling driving you were suffering blurred vision and lapses in concentration.

“You had been told by a doctor you should not be driving and you should report it to the DVLA.

“You were well aware of the condition you were suffering and well aware you should not be driving that day.”

The court heard that Oakenfull had already been involved in one accident near her home on the day of the fatal smash.

At around 4pm she clipped another driver’s wing mirror while speeding.

She briefly stopped to tell the other driver that her girlfriend was a police officer and would sort it, before driving away.

Two hours later she was spotted swerving in her car on rural Ox Leys Road near Sutton Coldfield.

Reaching speeds of around 60mph, she forced one oncoming car to perform an emergency stop before clipping a kerb and veering into the path of a Renault Megane.

Driver Mark Gillings suffered fractures to his left leg which required surgery.

Back seat passenger Mrs Smith suffered fatal chest injuries and died a short time later in hospital. Her daughter Emily escaped without serious injury.

Judge Wall added: “They had no chance at all to avoid a collision.

“It became obvious you smelled of alcohol and there was a vodka bottle in the front of the car and a can of energy drink with added alcohol.

“It was no surprise, even four hours later, police were able to work out you were nearly twice the (drink drive) limit.

“The first accident two hours before shows there was previous bad driving.

“That should have warned you of the quality of your driving and inability to drive that day.

“You blatantly disregarded that warning.”

Officers also found a mobile phone connected to a charger in the car.

ANPR cameras captured her on the phone as she drove around in the minutes and hours leading up to the crash.

Gareth Walters, prosecuting, said victim impact statements showed the devastating loss caused by Mrs Smith’s death.

He told the court: “Her husband Terry Smith said his wife and life had been brutally taken away from him.”

John Hallissey, defending, said his client was “devastated” by what she has done.

He said his client had no recollection of the smash but said on the day she had drunk only a glass of wine.

She told police the vodka bottles were in her car from the previous night but she had not touched them.

Mr Hallissey added: “This was not deliberate dangerous driving.

“Her culpability is driving in the first place rather than making a conscious decision to drive dangerously.”

Following the smash, Mrs Smith’s family issued a tribute to her, saying: “Kay was known for always for having a smile on her face.

“She loved to chat and people loved her.

“She was warm and friendly and always wore her heart on her sleeve. She will be deeply missed by her family.”