A DAUGHTER has spoken of her anger after the young woman driver involved in a fatal accident that led to her mother’s death walked free from court.
Sharon Robins and seven other relatives of Pauline Preston missed the moment the case collapsed following an official blunder.
The family of the 66-year-old were left waiting in a side room of Bradford Crown Court while a judge dismissed charges against 19-year-old Lydia Presley.
The former Huddersfield New College student was charged with causing death while driving without due care and attention following the accident on Greetland Road in Barkisland last year.
But last week Judge Jonathan Rose dismissed the case against the teenager from Norland.
Mrs Robins, 43, yesterday told the Examiner how she and her relatives missed the surprise announcement.
“We were in the family room under the impression that another case was taking place in Court 4,” she said.
“We were told at 2pm that the judge had over-ruled the evidence.
“The Crown Prosecution Service and the police were shocked at the outcome. Everyone was gobsmacked.
“We, as a family, were very shocked at the outcome. It stinks.
“We waited 18 months for our day in court. Lydia was able to walk away because of the judge’s decision.
“We were robbed of the chance to face her and her family in court.”
Miss Presley’s Renault Clio was in collision with Mrs Preston’s Ford Fusion in May, 2010.
The 17-year-old had passed her test just a month before the accident.
Mrs Robins said yesterday that Miss Presley should have faced some punishment for the accident.
“We never wanted Lydia to get a prison sentence because she’s not a criminal and it was an accident,” she said.
Mrs Robins also criticised Judge Rose for saying that the stretch of Greetland Road where the accident happened was of “potentially significant danger to even an accomplished driver”.
She said: “There have been two accidents there in the last 12 years – it’s not a blackspot.”
Mrs Robins, 43, of Rishworth, paid tribute to her late mother.
“She was a bubbly, outgoing woman,’’ she said. “She was very popular, always doing something.”
Mrs Preston, who worked as a driving instructor before her retirement, lost her husband Gilbert, 69, nine months before the accident.
The Halifax woman had two daughters, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Mrs Preston died as she was driving home from The Fleece in Barkisland where she and her relatives had been celebrating her grandson Sean’s 12th birthday.