Mother 'showing off' caused crash that killed her child, 3, and teenage cousin

·2-min read

A mother has been jailed after "showing off" while driving and causing a "catastrophic" crash that killed her three-year-old and her teenage cousin.

Mary Stokes was driving a Peugeot 206 on 2 September 2020 with five passengers inside despite not having a license or insurance, a court was told.

The vehicle had been sold for scrap and failed its MOT.

The 23-year-old was seen driving "at speed" along the A1068, near Horden, County Durham, before slowing down for a line of traffic.

Stokes, who lives on Cario Street in Sunderland but is originally from County Derry, carried out a U-turn and headed off in the opposite direction, with one driver saying he thought she was being chased by police due to the nature of her driving.

When she tried to overtake a car, she lost control and collided with a Mercedes van, Durham Crown Court heard.

Her three-year-old daughter Kelsey was thrown from the car and killed, while three other under-18s were seriously injured.

Two of the children were not in child seats.

Stokes's 17-year-old cousin, Shauna, died in hospital the next day after being thrown halfway out of the back of the car.

The van driver was taken to hospital and suffered injuries to his wrist, sternum and toes that left him immobile for three months.

Stokes was trapped and is now using crutches to walk after suffering serious leg injuries.

Judge James Adkin said she seemed to have focused on giving the passengers a thrill, throwing them around in the car on purpose, rather than "shielding them from harm".

"There is evidence you were showing off to the passengers in your car that day," he told Stokes.

He added that this was "persistent" and "deliberate bad driving".

Stokes admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

She was disqualified from driving for seven years and sentenced to three years and eight months in prison.

David Outterside, defending, said Stokes was "bereft" at the loss of her daughter and cousin and struggling with "crippling depression and grief".

He said she remained vulnerable after the crash.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court the "catastrophic" road traffic collision was caused by the defendant's "dangerous driving".

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting