Driver who crashed into pregnant woman's car on M275 before speeding off avoids jail
A DRIVER who ploughed her car into a pregnant woman's vehicleÂ on the M275 and then drove off from the scene '“ waving gloatingly at her injured victim as she went past '“ was spared jail.
Catherine Hankin, 32, failed to spot traffic had come to a standstill on the motorway last July before she smashed into the victim's car, Portsmouth Magistrates' Court heard.
To compound matters, the Bedhampton woman, after repeatedly refusing to get out of her car and exchange details with the victim, eventually agreed to drive to a nearby layby.
But instead of pulling over, the defendant drove past.
Describing the carnage, prosecutor Graham Heath said: '˜The victim looked in her rear view mirror and saw a vehicle coming towards her at quite a speed after failing to react to the traffic being stationary. It then drove into the back of her car.
'˜When the victim tried to get the defendant to exchange details, the defendant would not open her door '“ with her repeatedly just saying she had to get to the pharmacy.
'˜Even though the victim was pregnant, the defendant failed to enquire whether she was OKÂ and was only interested in her prescription.'
Eventually, the victim thought she had persuaded Hankin to drive into the layby to exchange details before she was left horrified to see the aggressor saunter past.
'˜The victim drove to the layby and expected the defendant to do the same, but instead she just drove past waving,' Mr Heath told the court.
Police were able to track down Hankin, who claims benefits, before arresting her. During police interview, she said she was '˜wrong, stupid and very sorry' for her actions.
The victim's car had sustained '˜significant damage' which resulted in her having to claim on her own insurance to have it repaired as Hankin was uninsured '“ leaving the victim Â£350 out of pocket.
The pregnant lady said the incident left her a '˜nervous wreck' who was forced to take time off work to get over the ordeal, which had shattered her confidence.
She said: '˜I feel anxious when I drive in case someone crashes into the back of my car.'
Defending, Rebecca Strong, said: '˜There was a momentary loss of what was going on. Ms Hankin is extremely upset by what happened. It is highly unlikely she will commit the same offence again as she is so remorseful.'
Hankin, of Belmont Grove, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and a licence, failing to stop after an accident, and driving without due care and attention, as well as failing to report and produce insurance.
Presiding magistrate Dr Gerard James-Madden said failing to stop after the crash was the most '˜serious' aspect of her crime, before adding: '˜You're not going to custody '“ we did consider it, though.'
Magistrates disqualified Hankin from driving for six months and gave her a 12-month community order where she has to complete 20 rehabilitation days.
She was also ordered to pay compensation of Â£350 to the victim, and pay Â£85 costs and a surcharge for the same amount.