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A 22-year-old has been jailed for killing a mother-to-be and her unborn baby in a high speed car crash near Mold.
Calvin Connah was driving his father's BMW when he collied with a Ford KA driven by 35-year-old Christina Barchetti on the A541 road at Pontblyddyn, on October 22 last year..
The prosecution at Mold Crown Court said Connah decided to over-take another car at the end of a 70 mph dual-carriageway, but he braked hard when the road became a single carriageway as it entered bends through a wood in a 50 mph area. He lost control of his car which crashed virtually head-on into Miss Barchetti's car. She suffered terrible injuries in the impact as her car was pushed back through a wall into woodland. The hospital worker died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital where she worked and her baby daughter Bella was still-born during an emergency Caesarian operation.
During his three-day trial, Connah claimed that he drove no faster than 60 mph along the dual-carriageway, denied over-taking another car at the last minute, and said he lost control on the bend at 50 mph because of the weather conditions. He had made an error of judgement, he claimed. But witnesses told how he sped along the dual-carriageway at an excessive speed and an accident investigator estimated that he must have been travelling at about 85 mph before the crash occurred.
The jury at Mold Crown Court retired for some four hours and 20 minutes yesterday but today were out only some ten minutes before they returned their guilty verdict by a ten to two majority in front of a packed court.
Connah showed no emotion when the verdict was returned. Judge Philip Hughes refused a bail application and remanded him in custody and said that he would be sentenced at a date to be fixed in a few weeks time.
But he warned him that he would receive a substantial prison sentence.
Prosecuting barrister John Philpotts told the jury that it was an exciting time for Miss Barchetti because she and partner Graham Clarke were expecting their first child in November. But that happy day never came because at 8.45 p.m. that night she was pronounced dead at Wrexham Mealor Hospital; he said. Miss Barchetti suffered abdominal trauma which caused her pregnant uterus to rupture. She died of shock and hemorrhage and her baby was still born as a result of blunt trauma and a lack of oxygen.
The crash was investigated by forensic accident investigators who came to the conclusion that the accident had been avoidable. The road was not defective, and the bend could have been negotiated at a speed significantly higher than the maximum speed limit, at about 85 mph. They ruled that the defendant lost control when braking while negotiating the bend at the end of the dual-carriageway.
Connah of Ffordd Derw, Leeswood near Mold, admitted causing death by careless driving, but denied causing death by driving dangerously.