A young driver accused of causing a fatal crash in which his girlfriend died was cleared by a jury on Wednesday.
Alex Jefford was 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.
Jefford, 21, of Woodside, Branston, denied causing the death of Gemma Marshall by careless driving as a result of the collision on February 3, 2018.
The jury at Lincoln Crown Court found him not guilty after deliberating for just over three hours.
Jefford did not give evidence during his trial. The jury was told he suffered a traumatic brain injury and has no memory of what happened. He has been diagnosed as suffering from amnesia.
His barrister Andrew Nuttall 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 heard that Jefford was driving Gemma, a second year student at the University of Lincoln, and her friend to Welton to collect 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, alleged 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.