February 23, 2021 5.21 pm This story is over 38 months old

Woman jailed after head-on crash caused couple’s death

The couple were coming to visit Lincoln

A BMW driver who caused a double fatal collision when she overtook a line of traffic at an estimated 80mph and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on was jailed for four and a half years at Lincoln Crown Court on Tuesday.

Claire Parker crossed over double white lines as she moved out to go past two cars and a double decker bus at the approach to a bend and at the brow of a hill on the A156 in the village of Gate Burton between Lincoln and Gainsborough.

Her powerful BMW 5-series car struck an oncoming Vauxhall Astra, killing the driver Stephen Edwardson, 46, and his partner Heather Locking, 39.

The couple, who had recently moved in together, were heading towards Lincoln on their way to a Christmas Market.

At the scene Parker, who was driving north on her way home from work, admitted to witnesses “It’s my fault. It’s all my fault.”

Claire Parker, also known as Claire Page, aged 56, of Juniper Way, Gainsborough, admitted two charges of causing death by dangerous driving as a result of the collision on December 5, 2019.

She was jailed for four and a half years and banned from driving for six years and three months. She was also ordered to pass an extended retest before she can legally drive again.

Recorder Simon King, passing sentence, told her: “These were two people in the prime of their respective lives who were immensely well thought of and loved.

“Any death is a tragedy but, in this case, it is fair to say there appears to be something particularly unfair and unjust about the deaths of Stephen and Heather in these circumstances.

“I have no doubt that if you could turn the clock back you would but that is not the way the world works.

“Immediate custody is absolutely inevitable and cannot be overlooked in this case.”

Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was travelling northbound. The collision occurred just before the crest of a hill. It was dark and it was wet.

“The collision was a head-on collision with the defendant who was overtaking. She was in the same carriageway as Mr Edwardson and Miss Locking as they travelled in the opposite direction to her.

“Both died at the scene. They died from multiple neck and chest injuries.”

Miss Pritchard said that witnesses described the collision as “horrendous”.

“A near head-on collision occurred. Her [Parker’s] vehicle was on the wrong side of the road. As a result of the collision the Astra travelled backwards, left the road and collided with a tree.

“The BMW was completely in the wrong lane and contravening the solid white lines.”

The court was told that Parker held a clean driving licence at the time of the collision.

The couple who died were both keen Gainsborough Trinity FC supporters. Mr Edwardson had been due to take over the running of the family farm at Kexby near Gainsborough from his father David while his partner was only a few weeks away from her 40th birthday.

In a victim impact statement, David Edwardson described his son as thoughtful, kind and considerate.

He said: “The loss of Stephen is deeply felt in every way. It has been difficult to carry on the business. This is a family farm. We have farmed at Kexby for three generations. It is difficult to see what will happen.”

Heather Locking was described as a kind woman who would go out of her way to help people.

Her cousin Nichola said: “She had finally found happiness with Stephen. He was her soul mate.”

Oliver Jarvis, for Parker, said: “She was driving home from work and she made a catastrophic error.

“This was an appalling manoeuvre which was over in a couple of seconds. The defendant is aware of the devastation she has caused. She has shown remorse and regret.”