Jurors told driver ‘went through red light’ causing fatal crash that killed motorcyclist Julie Corben in Fareham

Elaine Dorey, 63, charged with causing death by careless driving of Julie Corben
Elaine Dorey, 63, charged with causing death by careless driving of Julie Corben
Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

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Portsmouth Crown Court

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A DRIVER accused of running a red light and causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist said: ‘I think I might have gone through on red’, a court heard.

Sitting in the dock at Portsmouth Crown Court Elaine Dorey listened as the prosecution case accusing her of being responsible for motorcyclist Julie Corben’s death was outlined.

The 62-year-old adult care worker denies death by careless driving in the crash in The Avenue, Fareham.

Prosecutor Richard Tutt told how grandmother Mrs Corben, 55, of Hook Lane, Warsash, was travelling eastbound on the A27 on a black Harley Davidson.

Dorey was returning from a trip to Asda with a colleague and a wheelchair-using disabled adult in her care in an adapted blue Fiat Doblo in Peak Lane, intending to cross the A27 to Catisfield Road, the court heard.

Mr Tutt told jurors: ‘It’s the prosecution case that it was Mrs Dorey who drove through a red traffic light as she was crossing the A27.

‘And by doing so she then drove into the path of Mrs Corben who was proceeding with the lights in her favour on her motorcycle, and in doing so Mrs Dorey caused the collision, as a result of which Mrs Corben sustained fatal injuries and died.’

The motorbike collided with the front passenger door, the court heard.

Mr Tutt said witness Brian Clifford, who was in Catisfield Road, heard ‘the driver of the Fiat Doblo saying to her passenger: “the lights were green”.’

A cyclist, Carl Haynes, whose Garmin satellite navigation system recorded his position, went over to the Fiat after a doctor attended to Mrs Corben.

Mr Tutt told jurors: ‘He saw a lady whom he believed to be the driver of that vehicle, and simply asked if everybody was alright, then that lady put her left hand to her mouth and said words to the effect of “I think I might have gone through on red”.’

Mr Tutt said data collected by Mr Haynes’s sat nav and his witness statement, where he said he stopped at a red light before the crash, showed that Dorey had gone through a red light.

Mrs Corben and Dorey, of Westcroft Road, Gosport, could not have been at red lights at the same time, Mr Tutt said.

Testing of Mrs Corben’s blood revealed she was two to three times the legal drug-driving limit for tetrahydrocannabinol, which comes from cannabis, Mr Tutt said.

He said an expert would tell jurors ‘a recreational user of cannabis would show gross motor skill impairment, a habitual user would be less affected by that amount of THC in blood’.

Two collision investigators said Mrs Corben was travelling between 40mph to 50mph in a 30mph limit,’ Mr Tutt said.

In police interview, Dorey said she had not seen the motorcycle before the collision, hadn’t heard any screeching of tyres and she had not had to stop at the junction, that she went ‘straight through,’ Mr Tutt said.

Dorey estimated her speed to be between 5mph and 15mph, jurors heard.

Robert Bryan, defending, said Dorey had intended to turn left then turn right across The Avenue in a ‘perfectly permissible’ manoeuvre.

Mr Bryan said two van drivers had earlier seen Mrs Corben at the junction of Highlands Road, who described her as travelling like ‘a bat out of hell’ and like a ‘scalded cat’.

He said Mrs Corben took delivery of the motorbike the day before the crash, which happened at 1pm on June 15, 2015.

Mr Bryan said riding the bike would have been ‘very challenging’ as evidence suggested Mrs Corben had been wearing an open-face helmet without the visor pulled down.

Asking why ‘she would have gone straight on through in front of a car that was crossing’, he added: ‘We have speed, we have cannabis, we have the visor.’

Jurors are due to visit the junctions involved in the collision today.

(Proceeding)