Drink driver who caused death of girl before she was born jailed in landmark case
PUBLISHED May 17, 2012
Gurim Pajova, a Kosovan refugee who had no licence or insurance, was almost three times over the limit after an all day drinking session when he failed to negotiate a bend on a narrow country road, crashing through a hedge before ending up in a field.
Lincoln Crown Court was told that his passenger Sarah Miles, 23, suffered seat belt bruising to the area of her abdomen where her unborn child was lying in the womb.
That set off a series of events which led to the baby, Nicole Miles, losing her life just 25 minutes after she was born at the the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby.
Miss Miles was 24 weeks into her pregnancy when the baby was born and the child's death was directly as a result of the premature birth which doctors said was in turn due to the injuries her mother received in the crash.
Pajova was arrested and after being summonsed to appear in court he disappeared, only to be arrested as he was leaving the country on a Eurolines bus heading for France. Pajova was travelling on a fake Slovakian passport and claimed he was going to visit friends when officials stopped him at Folkestone.
Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said: "Without the car crash baby Nicole would not have died in the way she did. The entire sequence of events followed from that car crash.
"In law the car crash need not have been the only cause or the main cause.
Provided the car crash contributed to the premature birth of Nicole that is sufficient for you to convict this man."
Miss Miles, from Grimsby, was admitted to hospital on four occasions for vaginal bleeding before going into labour on 17 April 2010.
Mr Aspden said " She was in labour for over six hours and at 12 minutes past five she gave birth to a baby girl, That baby girl was later named Nicole.
"The baby had a faint heart beat and the doctors did all they could for that little baby. They ventilated it and started to resuscitate it but tragically 25 minutes after it was born the baby died.
"There were two post mortem examinations. The cause of her death was extreme prematurity.
The day she was born her mother was 24 weeks and one day into her pregnancy - just short of six months."
Pajova was breath tested at the scene of the crash at Covenham St Bartholomew, Lincs, with the reading showing 95 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath compared to the legal limit of 35 mgs.
Pajova was a friend of both Miss Miles and her brother and not the father of the baby.
Miss Miles later told police: "I thought he was sober when we got in the car.
I wish he'd told me he'd been in the pub all day because I wouldn't have got in the car with him. He didn't look drunk. He lied. He said he's just been chilling at home."
Prof Janesh Gupta, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Birmingham Women's Hospital, , told the jury he was "sure" the car crash was a cause of the baby's premature birth and consequential death.
He said "The tenderness and bruising to the chest and abdomen correlated with the location of the seat belt. The lower seat belt would have been covering exactly where the baby was sat."
Pajova ,24, of no fixed address, was convicted of causing the death of baby
Nicole Miles by careless driving while unfit through drink following the collision on 28 March 2010.
He was also found guilty of causing death by driving while uninsured, while driving without a licence and failing to provide a specimen of urine.
Pajova admitted a further charge of possession of a false passport.
Pajova did not give evidence. He admitted driving with excess alcohol and without either a licence or insurance but denied the crash contributed to the death of baby Nicole.
After the verdicts were returned the jury was told he had a previous conviction in November 2005 for drink driving and driving without either a licence or insurance.
Judge Sean Morris jailed Pajova for six years and banned him from driving for five years "Whilst drunk you got behind the wheel of a car and you drove with a passenger who was pregnant.
Being in charge of a vehicle when drunk is as bad as being in charge of a loaded gun. You lied to the police at the scene and you were driving without insurance and without a licence. You had an extremely high alcohol reading."
Laura Staples, defending, said Pajova had a difficult life having grown up in war conditions in Kosova. His father was killed and his mother disappeared before he was able to flee to a refugee camp in Albania.
Miss Staples said Pajova arrived in the UK at the age of 14 after smuggled in on the back of a lorry and later was fostered out after being taken into care.
"He knows he should not have been driving in the first place. It was a stupid decision."