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Woman sentenced for death by careless driving

 


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This page was last updated on
18-Jul-2014 13:02

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A woman has been sentenced today, Friday, 18 July, at Harrow Crown Court for causing the death of a mother by careless driving.

Ophelia Okai-Koi, 52 (08.06.62), a nurse of Galdana Avenue, Barnet was found guilty on 6 June, of causing the death of Christie McHugh, 33 (27.3.79), from Barnet.

She was sentenced to 12 months in prison and disqualified from driving for two years.

The court had heard that on the evening of Monday, 4 March 2013, Mrs McHugh had been at the Lord Kitchener pub along East Barnet Road with her husband and two children before they went to the car park where their vehicle was parked.

The couple struggled to put their baby's car seat into their car as their rear doors were blocked by Okai-Koi's Vauxhall Insignia.

The defendant returned to her vehicle from a nearby supermarket and an argument between the three ensued.

Okai-Koi got into her car and moved it forward but it still blocked the McHugh's car. Mrs McHugh and her husband approached the vehicle and become involved in an altercation with Okai-Koi.

The defendant dialled 999 and the police operator could hear people banging and swearing.

Okai-Koi was advised to wait for police to arrive at the scene. but took the decision to leave before the police arrived.

Witnesses then reported seeing Mrs McHugh lean against the bonnet of the car before lifting herself up and resting across the car with her head and hands on the windscreen.

With Mrs McHugh on the bonnet of the car Okai-Koi drove out of the car park, turning right onto East Barnet Road travelling at a speed of between 10 and 15 miles per hour. Mrs McHugh was thrown from the bonnet of the car before hitting her head on a Belisha beacon on a zebra crossing. Ms Okai-Koi then drove away from the scene before the police arrived.

An off-duty special police constable who was waiting at a nearby bus stop gave first aid to Mrs McHugh, as did paramedics who arrived soon after, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem later gave the cause of death as a severe head injury.

Okai-Koi was arrested by officers at her home address later that evening.

Detective Constable Sam Vennart, Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "It is utterly tragic that a row about parking led to the loss of a woman's life.

"The family of Christie McHugh have been shattered by this incident and I can only hope that today's verdict allows all parties to begin moving on."