Belfast Telegraph

Life ban for driver whose car struck two-week-old baby

By John Cassidy

A disabled woman who mowed down and seriously injured three people including a two-week-old baby in a pram has been banned for life from driving and given a suspended prison sentence.

Rebecca Ruby McAllister (51) pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to three counts of causing grievous bodily injury by careless driving on August 28, 2011.

Prosecuting barrister Tessa Kitson told the court that McAllister, from Cliftonville Road in Belfast, was driving her Renault Clio mobility car along the Oldpark Road that day around 6.30pm.

She told Judge Corinne Philpott QC that as the defendant, who had suffered a stroke a few years earlier, was negotiating the roundabout to head down the Cliftonville Road "she appears to have lost control" of the car.

Ms Kitson said that the car "veered straight across the road striking a black waste bin, mounted the pavement and crashed through the window and door of the Capital Chinese Takeaway".

The court heard that a woman in her 50s pushing a two-week-old boy in the his pram were caught up in the horrific incident.

The deputy Belfast Recorder was told that the woman was in the takeaway restaurant and the child was in the pram outside.

"She looked out the window and saw a black car coming across the roundabout, straight round the bend and coming towards her," said Ms Kitson. "She immediately pushed the child out of the way and in the process she got pinned under the car which went right through and into the shop."

Ms Kitson told the court that a 10-year-old girl was in the takeaway at the time of the crash and was struck to the ground.

Ms Kitson said McAllister was interviewed by police but could give no explanation as to how she lost control of the car and why she didn't try and brake.

A defence barrister said McAllister deeply regretted the crash.

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Judge Philpott Qc said that in all the circumstances, given McAllister's guilty plea, her clear record and effect it had on her health, a suspended sentence was appropriate. McAllister received a 15-month sentence suspended for two years and was also fined £200 for careless driving. "But I am putting in place a lifetime driving ban," he added.

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