Byfleet crash driver 'undergoing counselling'By John Ellul
May 13, 2011
THE driver involved in a fatal collision with a teenage cyclist from Woking has been sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work.
Woking College student Joel Semmens, 17, from Evelyn Close, was cycling home from his girlfriend’s house in Byfleet on the night of October 13 last year when he was in collision with a black Audi TT.
Hannah James, 31, of Disraeli Road, Putney, appeared at Woking Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (May 12) to face charges of failing to stop after a road accident and using a vehicle with an unsuitable tyre.
Joel was taken to St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey where he died from his injuries the following day, two days before what would have been his 18th birthday.
Prosecutor Samantha Forsyth said: “When the victim rode his mountain bike out from Queen’s Avenue, her car struck the left hand side of the bike and the victim was thrown across the road.
“The defendant did not stop and she returned later and admitted being the driver involved in the collision.”
The court heard that James continued travelling to her parent’s house in nearby Pyrford, where she realised the full extent of the damage to her car.
Mark Haslam, defending, said: “The prosecution have said speed was not an issue. You are aware there was no alcohol involved.”
He added no evidence had been found for a charge of death by dangerous driving.
“It’s fair to say failing to stop covers a multitude of sins and it is designed to deal with a totally different scenario, a genuine hit-and-run, and here we have a completely different situation,” he added.
Mr Haslam also told the court that the case had a significant impact on James, who is undergoing counselling to deal with what happened.
James was ordered to complete the sentence in the next 12 months and she will also have her licence endorsed with 10 penalty points. She will pay costs of £87 and face no additional penalty for the tyre offence.
More than 30 friends and family of Joel Semmens turned up to show support, some bringing flowers.
At an inquest held in Woking last month, Surrey coroner Michael Burgess ruled that Joel died from injuries received as a cyclist in the course of a road traffic collision.
For more on this story, including a tribute from Joel's mother, see today's Woking, Byfleet, Chobham and New Haw edition of the Surrey Advertiser.