jail plea

Young mum Helen Naylor, who was knocked over and killed just days before Christmas while out shopping
Young mum Helen Naylor, who was knocked over and killed just days before Christmas while out shopping
Share this article

A GUILT-ridden driver who knocked over and killed a Newton mum while she was out Christmas shopping begged a judge to jail him.

Callum Pearce ploughed into mum-of-one Helen Naylor after driving through a red light in Manchester city centre.

Manchester Crown Court was told Pearce, 22, failed to notice the stop sign because he was chatting to his passenger, girlfriend Daryll Donnelly.

Mrs Naylor was taken to Salford Royal Infirmary but died the following morning, leaving behind her husband and two-year-old son.

Pearce, a 22-year-old ventilation engineer, of Green Lane, Middleton, held his head in his hands as he was jailed for 13 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving while uninsured.

He was earlier told Pearce had asked the judge to lock him up before sentencing.

When he pleaded guilty on February 28, Pearce had been told he would get bail until his sentence date. But the inconsolable driver instead chose to go to Strangeways straight away.

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, told the court that Mrs Naylor, from Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside, was waiting at the pelican crossing at Great Ancoats Street at 1pm on December 17.

A number of other vehicles stopped and Mrs Naylor and another pedestrian walked across at the ‘green man’ signal.

But, as she stepped into the eastbound carriageway, the VW Polo driven by Pearce ploughed straight into her, throwing her in the air. Pearce had been going at 28mph at the point of collision – but witnesses recalled that he was going too fast to stop at the red signal.

Confronted by a pedestrian who narrowly escaped being hit, Pearce said: “I know, I know, I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t stop...What have I done?”

Mr Mackintosh told the court that the accident had a “devastating effect” on Mrs Naylor’s family. Her husband took her little boy to see her in the mortuary because the child kept thinking his 
mother’s twin sister was his mum.

Patrick Buckley, defending, said Pearce was a hard-working young man with “good qualities” who felt “very genuine remorse”.

Describing the case as “tragic and distressing”, Judge Martin Steiger QC said: “Unusual, unprecedented in my experience, was the defendant’s desire to be remanded in custody.”

He added: “He was not exceeding the speed limit at the moment of braking – but through the ill attention of speaking to his girlfriend he failed to notice the red light, resulting in the tragic collision and the death of a young mother.”

Ms Donnelly pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting causing death by driving whilst uninsured. She was fined £2,000 and banned from driving for 12 months.