In the Media

Dentist facing jail after killing dog-walker while texting at wheel

PUBLISHED November 27, 2012

Kay Nolan, 45, had pulled over in a layby to compose the message on her mobile phone but only sent it once she had set off again.

As she did so she knocked down Stuart Mather, a 60-year-old grandfather, as he was crossing the road with his Scottish terrier Hamish.

Mr Mather, a keen cricket and football fan, was taken by air ambulance to hospital but later died. His dog was also killed in the collision in Higham, Lancs, on June 6 last year.

Nolan, who works at Padiham Dental Practice near Burnley, was on her way home to the village of Thornton-in-Craven near Skipton when she hit him at 5.20pm.

She was facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving but before her trial got under way yesterday she broke down and sobbed as she admitted the lesser charge of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

She could be jailed for up to five years for the offence.

Mr Mather, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) who had two sons and a grandson, was taking Hamish for his regular walk when he was hit.

Nolan had written the text message while she was parked on the A6068 Barrowford Road, Higham, but did not push the send button on her phone until she had pulled off and started driving.

She struck Mr Mather and he in turn was hit again by a Vauxhall Astra travelling behind Nolan's silver Honda Jazz. He died at Royal Blackburn Hospital but no-one in either car was injured.

A tribute penned at the time of Mr Mather's death by his family, including sons Alexander and Iain, said: "Stuart was a keen member of East Lancs CAMRA, and also very much enjoyed his time following Lowerhouse Cricket Club and Burnley Football Club, where he also collected the Claret and Blue bonds

"Stuart was always a popular, jovial person, who very much enjoyed the company of his many friends and family. He was a devoted father and grandfather, and had spent the last few years caring for his mother and his expanding family.

"He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all that knew him."

Camra members said Mr Mather had helped score pubs in a pub and club of the year competition and worked at its beer festival in Colne. It now organises Stuart Mather Memorial Days in tribute to him at his local pub in Burnley.

Mr Robert Elias, prosecuting, said prosecutors had accepted Nolan's guilty plea to the lesser charge after discussions with Mr Mather's family.

"She accepts that she sent the text within six seconds of people phoning the police," he said.

Mr Simeon Evans, defending, said Nolan had no previous convictions.

The dentist was granted bail and will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on December 17.

Mr Justice Singh, the judge in the case, warned that "all sentencing options" would be considered.