Crash Death Wife To Be Sentenced

A woman who killed her husband in a car crash during a drunken row will be sentenced today.

Caroline Meeking, 45, and her husband Alan, 49, were on their way home to Somerset from a day's drinking in Bridport, Dorset, when they crashed into another vehicle after she grabbed the handbrake.

Meeking will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after a jury took three hours to find her guilty of manslaughter.

During the two-day trial the jury heard that Meeking and her husband had between them drunk two bottles of rose wine and later had four or five pints of lager each.

Meeking told the court she did not intend to kill her husband and did not know the car would react the way it did.

She said she simply wanted to get away from him as the argument had already lasted 30 minutes.

Ian Dixie, prosecuting, claimed Meeking's husband called her a 'dirty slut'.

The couple, who had been together for nine years and married for 12 months, were arguing as they drove along the unlit A3088 at Montacute, near Yeovil, Somerset, on the evening of August 30 last year.

Meeking pulled the handbrake, pulling their silver Ford Escort into a spin, heading side-on at speed into the path of a car coming in the opposite direction.

The driver of the other car, a green Rover 620, had no time to react and the two cars collided shortly before 10.30pm.

Despite wearing his seat belt, Mr Meeking suffered catastrophic injuries and was declared dead at the scene by medics. The other motorist escaped without serious injury.

Blood tests carried out afterwards found that Mr Meeking, who was 5ft 9ins and weighed more than 17 stone, was twice the drink-drive limit that night.

Motorists who came to the aid of the couple described Meeking as 'hysterical' and 'distraught'.

She shouted repeatedly: "I am sorry, it's all my fault. That's my husband, it's all my fault.

"We were having an argument and he called me a dirty slut and I pulled up the handbrake."

Witnesses to the accident also told police they believed Mr Meeking was driving without his headlights on.

The court heard that the speed limit on the road was 60mph and police investigators believe Mr Meeking was travelling 'very close' to that speed when the crash happened.

Meeking said she and her husband, who worked as a vehicle panel beater, had a good marriage and shortly before his death had been talking about starting a family.

The couple met in West Drayton in west London but decided to move to Somerset for a 'change of lifestyle'.