Delivery driver who jumped a red light and killed teacher Tracey Wilson given suspended sentence
PUBLISHED: 12:55 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 03 January 2020
A delivery driver who killed an Islington teacher in Hornsey when he jumped a red light has avoided an immediate prison sentence.
Paul Austin, 56, of Stotfold, Hitchin, was given a suspended two-year sentence and a 10-year driving ban for the incident on December 27, 2018 which led to the death of Tracey Wilson - a child protection officer at City of London Academy Islington (COLAI).
Austin pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving when he appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on December 2.
Judge John Hillen also sentenced Austin to a community-based penalty of a 20 days rehabilitation requirement and 200 hours of community service.
The Old Bailey heard on Thursday, January 2 that CCTV footage from the Great Northern Railway Tavern, in Hornsey High Street, showed Austin was driving within the speed limit, at 14 miles per hour, when he ran a red light and collided with Tracey as she crossed the road at about 5pm.
He stopped at the scene and was described as having been "visibly distressed, crying and burying his face in his hands".
Tracey arrived at the Royal London Hospital at 6.27pm where a CT scan revealed she had a "severely fractured skull", and a review by neurosurgeons found that, even if they had operated, her injuries were not survivable. Tracey died two days later.
Austin was breathalysed at the scene and wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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The veteran, who previously served the Grenada Guards, was working as a delivery driver for Alliance Healthcare dropping of drugs at pharmacies, was driving a white van when he collided with Tracey.
He had driven the same route several times before and the light had been red for at least four seconds when he collided with Tracey.
In a victim impact statement read from behind a curtain, Tracey's sister Lorraine Wilson said: "Tracey Wilson was a lovable sister, wonderful mum, amazing nanny, perfect daughter, adorable aunty, caring, faithful friend.
"Our whole family is totally devastated by the loss of Tracey, we are broken. Words cannot describe how we feel. We struggle to get through every single day living with this pain, not having Tracey here is heart wrenching. We have all had counselling and continue to do so and take medication."
She said Tracey worked as a child protection officer for over 20 years and "helped so many children turn their lives around".
On the day of her funeral, attended by about 1,000 people, COLAI closed for the day to honour Tracey's memory.
Austin's previous convictions include driving while disqualified in 1998 and driving while under the influence of alcohol in 2010. In mitigation for the latter, it was argued he was rushing to the hospice to see his mother in the morning and was about seven points over the limit from drinking the previous evening.
It was noted he lives in a rural area with no access to buses and is the sole carer for his wife, making the driving ban a more consequential punishment as the couple will now be reliant on taxis to travel.
Austin suffers from PTSD after he was himself the victim of a road traffic collision a number of years ago, which the court heard has affected him again since he hit Tracey.
He has been teetotal since the 2010 incident and was deemed by the judge to have expressed remorse for his careless driving causing Tracey's death.