In the Media

Man blamed speeding on his dead wife

PUBLISHED May 2, 2012

Christopher Bingley, 44, was caught driving too fast on four occasions after his wife Joanne died.

The bankrupt management consultant had filled in a speeding notice stating that his 39-year-old partner had been driving her Jeep Cherokee in two separate offences in August 2010 and a third time in February 2011.

Each time he paid the fines.

However, Mrs Bingley had committed suicide in April 2010 following a battle with post-natal depression, a few weeks after the birth of their baby girl.

Bingley was only found out when his wife's case was sent to court last year.

Shamaila Qureshi, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court: "Her licence was endorsed and at this stage three points were given, giving her a total of nine points.

"When the final offence was committed on April 9 last year her case was listed to be heard by Barnsley Magistrates Court. As she already had nine points, they were considering disqualification."

Bingley went to the court hearing and handed in a form with the findings of his wife's inquest, where it was discovered the offences were all committed after her death.

Ms Qureshi said the defendant claimed he was confused following his wife's death: "At the time he was filling out a lot of legal forms.

"He did state he was under a lot of stress following his wife's death and he was absorbed in the failings of the NHS at that time.

"He was on autopilot in the time after his wife's death."

However, Judge Peter Benson refused to believe he could have made the same mistake on three occasions.

"Each of these acts involved you forging details and that was a deliberate course to take, I do not accept it was out of confusion," he said.

The court heard how Bingley had previous driving offences from 1998 when he was caught drink-driving and two further offences in 1999 and 2000 when he was caught driving whilst disqualified.

In mitigation, Claire Moran told the court how Mrs Bingley had been suffering from mental health issues as she struggled to get pregnant and suffered miscarriages.

Bingley himself had suffered with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a hernia and he had almost died suffering with neutropenia, a lack of white blood cells, when they discovered Joanne was pregnant.

And now, since her death, Bingley, who has been in the Scouting Association for 21 years, was going through bankruptcy and is facing eviction from their home.

He has since stood down from his role in the charity in light of the offences.

She said: "Over the last two years Mr Bingley has effectively had his whole world destroyed, he has lost his home, his partner and financial security."

The judge said he was minded to order a custodial sentence but suspended it after hearing Bingley was the sole carer of his daughter Emily, who is now two.

He said: "Your advocates point to the impact on your daughter, and the loss of her mother when she was only a few months old does weigh heavily on the court."

He suspended a six-month jail term for two years and Bingley is to wear a tag between the hours of 7pm and 6am for four months. He has also been disqualified from driving for nine months.

Mrs Bingley, a nurse with 20 years experience, committed suicide in April 2010 when she threw herself under a train following a battle with post-natal depression.

Her husband blamed her death on PND and set up the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation to highlight the illness in February last year.

An independent investigation after her death made 21 recommendations throughout the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority region following Mrs Bingley's death and said if she had been admitted to hospital at least three days before her death, she would have expected to make a full recovery.

After his sentence Bingley said to the judge: "Thank you for taking into consideration my daughter."

The judge ruled that given Bingley's financial situation, there should be no costs in the case.