Families of Forton friends Daphne Ball and Angela Murphy tell court of devastating impact as Blackpool driver who killed them is jailed

A motorist who caused the deaths of two elderly women in a crash sobbed in the dock as a friend of his victim's family read a harrowing statement about the impact of their deaths.

By Stef Hall
Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 3:08 pm

Daniel Cartmell, 25, of Caunce Street, Blackpool, had cocaine and cannabis in his body, and had only got his licence back eight weeks earlier, after a previous drink driving conviction.

However, the authorities could not prove whether the presence of drugs in his system contributed to the crash, Preston Crown Court was told, so it had to be disregarded by the court.

Mum-of-four Daphne Ball and friend Angela Murphy, who were both in their 70s, died from their injuries after Cartmell's Seat Ibiza crossed onto the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into Mrs Murphy's Volkswagen Up.

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Angela Murphy

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They were travelling back from a medical appointment when the fatal crash happened on the A6 Preston Lancaster New Road between Cock Robin Lane, Catterall, near Garstang, and the A586 - The Avenue, on July 3 last year.

Mrs Ball died at the scene and Mrs Murphy died a short time later in hospital.

Cartmell, who suffered a fractured pelvis, has failed to give an explanation for the crash, which happened on a clear dry day, but admits two counts of causing death by careless driving.

Daniel Cartmell

Prosecuting Emma Kehoe said: "Just after 9.45am the Ibiza vehicle crossed over the double white lines which run between the two carriageways as it goes around a corner and hit full on the vehicle.

"His urine was found to contain cannabinoids and cocaine in his blood stream, but what is clear is the amounts could not be ascertained, so the Crown cannot assert those drugs were a contributing feature."

The defendant cried as a harrowing statement was read to the court by a friend of Mrs Ball's family, in which they revealed former nurse Mrs Ball's deep bond with her husband, Rev Christopher Ball, who is suffering from dementia.

The couple moved to Forton 15 years ago to be close to Mrs Ball's mother, who is 101 years old.

Her mother, who used to be visited daily by her, has had to go into a home since her death.

Mrs Ball was her husband's primary carer after he was diagnosed with Alzheimers and her family said: " She was the one person with whom he retained a strong bond of connection and cared for him like no one else could."

They said the trauma of not being able to say their goodbyes to her leaves "deep scars."

Mrs Murphy's niece, who lives in the South, told the court through a statement they were in regular contact by phone and letter and had a mutual love of collecting teddy bears, with Mrs Murphy sending them to her in the post.

Mrs Murphy had been caring for her husband until his death in 2015, and lost her sister in 2016.

She had recently started to rebuild her life and got involved with the Forton Monday Club, where she met Mrs Ball and the women became extremely close.

Defending, Richard Archer said Cartmell was remorseful, and todl the court it wasn't a case of prolonged bad driving or excess speed.

Jailing the defendant for 16 months, Judge Beverley Lunt said: " I make it clear to everybody no sentence I pass could, or intends to, reflect the values of the lives lost or the devastation felt by the families."

She described Mrs Ball as a "warm selfless and deeply caring lady", and Mrs Murphy as a healthy and active lady who had given "years of selfless devotion and love" to her poorly husband.

She added: " Their deaths were a direct result of your careless driving."

"In the absence of any evidence from you to explain your driving I must draw the appropriate inferences from all of the evidence before me."

She pointed out his previous ban and his drug use and added: "How can I be sure you are not a continuing risk to other road users? That's a difficult question."

He was given a two year ban and must take an extended retest.