Search

Driver who jumped red light and killed City of London Academy teacher fails to overturn 10-year driving ban

PUBLISHED: 16:47 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:30 18 August 2020

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

Archant

The driver who killed an Islington teacher when he jumped a red light has failed to overturn the 10-year driving ban imposed on him because he “presents a real risk” for other road users.

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine WilsonTracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

The red light had already been showing for four seconds when veteran Paul Austin, 57, of Stotfold, hit Tracey Wilson with his delivery van as she crossed Hornsey High Street in 2018.

Tracey, a 55-year-old mother who worked as a child protection officer, at City of London Academy Islington, died of head injuries and extensive internal injuries in hospital two days later.

Austin pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, and was given a six month sentence suspended for two years, with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement, plus 200 hours of community service and a 10-year driving ban at the Old Bailey on January 2.

At the time Tracey’s family complained “the justice system had failed them” when Austin avoided an immediate prison term.

Tracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine WilsonTracey Wilson. Picture: Lorraine Wilson

They were devastated to hear this week that Austin - who has previous convictions for driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving without insurance and driving whilst disqualified - was appealing the driving ban.

At a hearing at the Criminal Appeal Court today, Austin’s barrister Alex Stein said his client was “truly sorry for the pain and suffering he has caused”, but argued the 10 year disqualification was “disproportionate” for the offence.

“It would appear it was committed when he was feeling stressed and late to meet his friend,” he said.

You may also want to watch:

“His attention may have been taken by flashing lights on the dashboard which contributed to him taking his eyes off the road

“He passed through a red traffic light but it doesn’t appear to be characteristic of him.

“He now has a heightened awareness of the risks when driving.” he added.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Fulford described the “tragic circumstances of the case”.

“She [Tracey] was from a close knit family, with one adult son and a two-year-old grandson and extended family, and she was held in high regard by her work colleagues,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘The justice system has failed us’: Tracey Wilson’s family slam sentence for driver who killed her

“There is no doubt that the sudden loss of her life has devastated the many people who knew her.”

He added: “It is concerning the applicant maintains he was distracted in part because of a device fitted in his van which was recording the quality of his driving and the fact he was running late.

“We find it difficult to understand why that should have resulted in his taking his eyes of the road for the not insignificant period of time.

“The circumstances of the fatal road accident combined with his historical offences, and the PDST (post traumatic stress disorder) issues means he presents a real risk for others on the road to justify this unusually long period of disqualification for causing death by inconsiderate driving.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Islington Gazette