Elaine Dorey gasped as the jury cleared her of causing motorcyclist Julie Corben’s death by careless driving.
The 63-year-old wept yesterday as families of both women sobbed in the public gallery after the verdict, returned after just more than an hour of deliberations, following a seven-day trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The News can now reveal Mrs Dorey was sent an email by police in December, 2015 saying ‘there will not be a prosecution against you’, subject to any review.
But the Crown Prosecution Service overturned its decision over the June 15, 2015, crash after a victims’ right to review application by 55-year-old Mrs Corben’s family.
Mrs Dorey said: ‘I’m devastated that this happened to this lady and her family.
‘It’s been more than two years of hell. I couldn’t move on, I couldn’t do anything with my life. It’s just been a nightmare.’
Mrs Dorey, comforted by her husband James, 63, said the trial was ‘fair’, the CPS was ‘doing its job’ and that she ‘cannot begin to understand’ how Mrs Corben’s family felt about the ‘devastating’ death.
She said: ‘I was upset then, on a knife edge whether I was going to be prosecuted. I was told I wasn’t going to be prosecuted and it was going to go to coroner’s court.
‘Coroner’s court was an awful experience, I came out of there feeling really bad.
‘Then I thought I had put it behind me, and started to move on and was trying coming to terms with it.
‘Then there was the bombshell in October 2016. They said it’s all going back to court. It’s been absolutely awful, it’s stress, it’s affected my whole family. I was off work for three months.
‘When I did go back to work I just kept myself busy.’
She said of Mrs Corben’s family: ‘It must be awful for them, it’s so devastating that they’ve lost somebody.
‘I can’t begin to understand how they’re feeling.
‘I know they’re looking for someone to blame and I appreciate that to a certain extent, but I do feel I have been persecuted by all this.’
The prosecution case was that Mrs Dorey, of Westcroft Road, Gosport, caused the crash by going through a red light in her Fiat Doblo when crossing Peak Lane to Catisfield Road, via The Avenue, in Fareham.
Mrs Dorey, who needed counselling after the crash, denied the charge.
She said: ‘If I had done anything wrong I would have admitted it, I would not have put myself through all this if I knew or thought for one minute I was guilty.’
The care worker praised support from family, colleagues and the work of solicitors at Knight Polson and barrister Robert Bryan.
Solicitor Chris Knight said: ‘For her to wait that length of time is totally unacceptable.’
A CPS spokesperson said: ‘In December 2015 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to the death of Ms Julie Corben.
‘Following the Coroner’s inquest, the family of Ms Corben decided to exercise their right for a victim’s right to review to appeal our decision not to prosecute.
‘Following a further independent review it was decided that the evidence did support a realistic prospect of a conviction and it was in the public interest to prosecute Ms Dorey with an offence of causing death by careless driving. After considering all of the evidence in the case the jury acquitted Mrs Dorey. We respect the decision.’
An inquest held in Portsmouth found the death of Mrs Corben, of Hook Lane, Warsash, was an accident.