Man behind the wheel of fatal Lincoln crash ‘was not driving too fast’

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A young driver accused of causing a crash in which his girlfriend died was not driving too fast for the road conditions, a jury was told on Tuesday.

Alex Jefford is alleged to have entered a right-hand bend at too high a speed resulting in him losing control of his Peugeot 207 and leaving the road.

The vehicle then crashed into trees on Lincoln Road, Dunholme. Jefford’s girlfriend Gemma Marshall, 19, was seriously injured and died 10 days later in the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Gemma, who came from Rotherham, was a dance student at the University of Lincoln.

Jefford himself suffered a traumatic brain injury and has been diagnosed as having amnesia leaving him with no memory of what happened.

Jefford did not give evidence during the trial. His barrister Andrew Nuttall, in his closing speech, urged the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

He told the jury: “The prosecution say that the defendant’s vehicle stepped out because he felt uncomfortable with his speed but there is no evidence that he took the bend at a speed that he found uncomfortable.

“The experts agree that the speed the defendant travelled at was somewhere between 44 and 50mph. The speed limit for the road is 60mph. Whatever way you look at it, he was well below that.

“Bad things happen. Sometimes it is just not possible to say precisely what happened. Sometimes it is not possible to draw down and say that is clear and that is what happened.

“I submit that the defendant is criminally not responsible for his girlfriend’s death.”

When Jefford was interviewed by police he told officers “I don’t remember anything.

“I remember the morning until about one o’clock and that’s the last thing I remember.

“Then I remember noises. It was like blurry. I think that’s when I woke up from a coma. I think I was in hospital at that point.”

He said he passed his driving test seven months before the collision at his third attempt.

The jury has heard that Jefford was driving his girlfriend and her friend to pick up a friend in preparation for a planned night out in Lincoln.

But on the way he lost control of his car and the vehicle spun off the road colliding with trees.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said that Jefford’s driving fell below the standard of a careful and competent driver in that in negotiating that bend he drove too fast for the conditions.

He said that as a result, Jefford either braked or decelerated or there was a combination of the two causing the car to “step out”. Jefford then, he said, tried to correct his driving but lost control.

Alex Jefford, 21, of Woodside, Branston, denies causing the death of Gemma Marshall by careless driving as a result of the collision on February 3, 2018.

The jury retired on Tuesday afternoon to consider its verdict and will resume its deliberations on Wednesday.

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