Joanne Collinge: Men jailed for 'senseless' death of mother killed during high-speed chase

16 October 2019, 21:41 | Updated: 17 October 2019, 07:52

Two men have been jailed after their high-speed car chase led to the death of a mother-of-five who was killed in a collision with one of their vehicles.

Joanne Colinge, 34, was killed when Lewis Fisher's Mercedes saloon ploughed into her VW Polo in Wigan, Greater Manchester, in April.

Fisher, 21, who was jailed for 11 years at Manchester Crown Court, lost control while being chased by Joseph Pownall, driving a VW Amarok pick-up truck.

The pair were recorded doing speeds of more than 70mph (112kmh) in a 30mph (48kmh) zone.

Pownall, 27, was given a 12-year sentence by Judge Richard Mansell QC, who told him: "By your senseless act of aggression you have brought unimaginable tragedy to bear on this family."

Pownall, of Pennine Way, Golborne, pleaded guilty last month to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mrs Collinge, whose vehicle spun 180 degrees and suffered devastating damage in the smash, died in hospital shortly afterwards.

Her husband, Andrew, suffered fractures to his sternum, rib and forearm, while two of Mrs Collinge's five daughters were also injured.

Mr Collinge recalled turning to his wife who he said had obviously suffered severe injuries and he knew "she was going to die and I could do nothing", the court was told.

The chase began when one of Fisher's passengers threw a brick at Pownall's car which was parked outside the Bryn Hall pub in Ashton-in-Makerfield.

Pownall raced out of the pub and drove off after the Mercedes, catching up with it at nearby traffic lights.

He pursued the silver vehicle for more than a mile along Bickershaw Lane at less than a car's length behind, ramming the Mercedes at least once, the court was told.

Oncoming cars swerved out of the way of the speeding pair, but Mrs Collinge had no time to steer clear.

Andrew O'Byrne QC, prosecuting, said Pownall failed to stop at the scene and returned to the Bryn Hall where CCTV appeared to show him "boasting" about the pursuit and "almost revelling" in the circumstances.

He persuaded his stepbrother, Steven Fairclough, 42, to make a false report that the Amarok had just been stolen.

Father-of-one Fisher, of Poolstock Lane, Wigan, was convicted by a jury this week of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving while unlicensed and uninsured.

The judge said he too had acted senselessly by "firstly provoking Pownall into an aggressive response and then engaging with him in this high-speed and highly dangerous pursuit".