UK & World News

  • 4 February 2013, 22:56

Drunk Son Who Ran Over Mother Is Sentenced

A drunken teenager who ran over and killed his mother in a fit of temper has been sent to a young offenders' institution.

Lewis Foster, 19, was drunk and emotional when he got behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Corsa on July 12 last year.

The landscape gardener had spent the afternoon drinking with his boss in Cornwall but later got into an argument with his mother, Deborah Jones, when he returned to his family home in St Austell.

He began revving the vehicle, causing his mother to come to the lane at the back of the house where the Corsa had been parked and beg him to stop.

Foster, who had a provisional licence, said his foot slipped on the clutch, causing the vehicle to spring backwards and pin his mother underneath the wheels.

She was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead the following morning with a number of severe injuries.

Judge David Ticehurst said: "Had you spent a moment or two thinking about the situation, had you not been drunk, had you not been in temper, you would not have been here.

"The words 'tragic' and 'tragedy' are often misused these days, but there is no doubt this was a tragic case with tragic consequences. Nothing I say or do can add to the sense of guilt you feel and always feel."

The judge, sitting at Truro Crown Court, said he would "temper justice with mercy," sentencing Foster to 12 months' detention after the teenager pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. He was also banned from driving for four years.

Foster, wearing a dark suit and blue tie, wept throughout the 20-minute hearing as details of the night in question were heard in court.

Prosecuting, Philip Lee said Foster - who was found to be twice the legal drink-drive limit - was "in a bad frame of mind" at the time of the incident, around 9pm.

Mr Lee said: "Witnesses could see [Ms Jones] shouting at him, at the back of the car.

"She called his friend to come out and help, who tried to unlock the bonnet and disable the engine, but couldn't. She began to walk towards the passenger side. As the car was still revving, it reversed. It shot backwards."

The court heard how Foster's friend frantically tried to use a jack and suspend the car, freeing Ms Jones, but she died from her injuries.

Piers Norsworthy, defending, said Foster and his mother loved each other very much, and that there was never any intention to harm her.

"At the time of the incident, this young man was in a very dark place," he said.

"No rational thought would have gone through his mind. He's a decent young man who's not always had the best of starts in his life, but he certainly loves his mother very dearly.

"The punishment your honour will impose will pale into insignificance compared with the mental damage this man will face and continue to face."

A tearful Foster blew a kiss to his family members in the public gallery as he was led from the dock.

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