A Leyland mum whose ‘selfish’ actions resulted in the death of a motorcyclist has been put behind bars.
Anne Marie Orton, 44, from Bristol Avenue, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after her car hit dad-of-three David Leech at the junction of Leyland Way and Bow Brook Road in November 2013.
She had been told a couple of years earlier that she should not be driving because of her defective eye sight.
Jailing her for three years and four months last week, Judge Mark Brown said: “As a result of your selfish behaviour and dangerous driving you have deprived David Leech of a full life and taken from his family the love, affection and companionship he would have given them.”
Prison officer Mr Leech, 59, suffered a broken leg and hip and ten days later he underwent surgery, but his condition deteriorated and he died after a deep vein thrombosis in his groin led to a fatal pulmonary embolism.
When Orton’s medical records were accessed it was found that her eyes had been tested in 2011 and she had been advised she would not pass a number plate test.
The police arranged for her eyes to be tested in January last year and an optometrist concluded that it was most likely she was suffering from degenerative genetic eye condition Best’s Disease, and was not legal to drive.
Judge Brown, who banned Orton from driving for six years, told her: “You accept your driving was dangerous and I am satisfied you must have recognised the obvious risk you were taking.
“Your vision could not be corrected by glasses and you were not in a fit state to drive.
“You ignored what the optician said and in doing so behaved in a selfish and self-centred way.
“You put lives of other road users at risk and eventually killed Mr Leech.
He said he accepted she helped run a church play group and helped at her son’s primary school and was regarded by those who know her as a loving wife and mother, hard working and conscientious.
Mark Monaghan, defending, said that Orton, who wiped away tears throughout the hearing, has no previous convictions, is remorseful and wanted to apologise to Mr Leech’s family.
He said: “The feelings of guilt and remorse she feels are very great and will remain with her for the rest of her life.”
But Judge Brown concluded: “Those who mourn David Leech not only feel the bitterness of separation but I am sure know the pride of what he did in life and his goodness.
“He achieved a good deal in both work and personal life.
“Mr Leech never arrived at his destination and never had a chance to avoid your car and his death has been followed by life long grief and pain to his wife and family.”
Impact statements were read out from Mr Leech’s grieving wife and daughters.
Widow Elaine Leech told of the happy life they had together and the couple’s retirement plans with lots of holidays and time alone together.
Her statement read: “I cannot put into words the extent of how I feel. The desolate abandonment of all hope and happiness and the love of a good man I worshipped for 43 years gone forever.”
Speaking to the Guardian, daughter Angela Matson, 36, said: “It has been very difficult going to court and seeing her and her family.
“We’re pleased she pleaded guilty, she admitted what she did was wrong and has saved my mum the heartache of a trial.
“We wanted the impact statements read out because it was important to us that she understood how this has affected us as a family.”
Her sister, Gill Leech, 35, said: “Mum has been left utterly destroyed by what happened. We all have.
“Dad was a brilliant man who we all relied heavily upon.”
Third daughter Diane Leech, 31, added: “It’s been absolutely horrendous for us, it’s been very traumatic.
“Maybe some time inside will give her chance to think about what she has done. “
Grandad David was a keen biker who grew up on Wade Hall. On leaving Wellfield High School he went into engineering and worked at Leyland Motors.
He joined the prison service in 1990 at the age of 36 at Wymott Prison.
The devoted family man, who lived in Leyland all of his life, had also worked as a Police Special patrolling the streets of his hometown.