A MOTHER who claimed she was behind the wheel of her car when her uninsured partner crashed it has been spared jail after admitting perverting the course of justice.
Kirsty Horner (34), of Mallory Road, East Herringthorpe, told police and insurers that she was driving her blue Land Rover when it crashed into the back of an off-duty police officer’s Chevrolet in Parkgate on March 14 last year.
In fact, it was her partner, Kieran Cassin (25), also of Mallory Road, who was behind the wheel on the A633 Rotherham Road.
Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday that the officer had been sitting in stationary traffic near the junction with Stonerow Way when he spotted Cassin’s car in his rear view mirror coming towards him.
He could tell it was not going to stop and it shunted his Chevrolet forwards by four metres, Ms Hollis said.
Cassin had got out of the car and told the officer he had been reaching for a drink and had not seen him stopping, the court heard.
Cassin had given the officer his mobile number and asked whether he could cover the costs without going through an insurer, but his request was refused.
“He [the police officer] was informed through his insurance company that the driver [of the Land Rover] was female,” Ms Hollis said.
“Knowing this to be false, he reported it to South Yorkshire Police.”
Horner had told her insurance company on March 20 that she had been driving and her partner had been in the front passenger seat.
When she was later quizzed by police officers about the collision, she refused to answer any questions, but filled out a form which named her as the driver of the car.
Cassin pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and driving without insurance at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on December 12 in connection with the incident and was given 11 points on his licence.
Horner admitted perverting the course of justice at a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on January 31.
Mr Dermot Hughes, mitigating, said everyone involved in the collision had, or would be, compensated and there was no innocent “third party” who had been falsely blamed for the collision.
“She is a decent woman, albeit one who has made a serious mistake which has got to be characterised as criminal,” he said.
“Ms Horner is not a danger to anyone at all. She is not a violent person. She is someone who works very hard indeed to provide for herself and her daughter on, no doubt, little more than minimum wage.”
Mr Hughes said Horner should avoid jail because there was no-one else who could care for her eight-year-old child.
Horner was sentenced to two months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.
Recorder Simon Eckersley said perverting the course of justice “inevitably called for a custodial sentence”.
He said giving a false account of events to investigators could change the outcome of a criminal investigation and alter the course of justice.
“If I was to impose a short custodial sentence of immediate imprisonment, it would probably do you no good at all,” he said.
“It would be your eight-year-old daughter who suffers.”