A MOTHER of four, who caused a fatal car crash when she jumped a red light “in a temper” after an argument with her boyfriend, has been jailed for six years.
Sheri Torkington was also disqualified from driving for six years at Bolton Crown Court yesterday.
The 32-year-old had been convicted of killing Laura Farrell by dangerous driving at the junction of St Peter’s Way and Turton Street, Bolton, at an earlier hearing.
Mrs Farrell was driving her husband, Norman, to work at a cheese distribution company in The Valley when the crash happened at 3.20am on June 29, 2011.
The 41-year-old, from Argyle Avenue, Walkden, was killed and her husband, now aged 54, also suffered serious injuries, including a broken neck and a punctured lung.
Bolton Crown Court heard that Torkington, of Nuffield Close, Halliwell, had argued with her partner, Philip Holt, and had driven him to his daughter’s Tonge Moor home in the early hours of the morning.
Judge Timothy Stead said: “You were in a temper at the time. There were two witness who have told this court that they were disturbed in the night by the noise of your street disagreement.
“I am satisfied with the evidence I have heard that you drove off alone and that you were in a considerable temper as a result of the argument.”
Judge Stead went on to describe how witnesses has seen and heard Torkington circling and revving her engine.
He added: “The witness described how she heard you driving your vehicle very fast in a circle twice with the engine screaching and revving. She was sufficiently alarmed to say she thought you were either ‘drunk or drugged up or on a suicide mission’.
“The reason I raise this is because I am quite satisfied that in the minutes coming up to the collision you were in a particularly bad temper and you were taking your temper out on the way you drove.”
The judge went on to condemn Torkington’s deliberate disregard for the red traffic light as she approached the junction of St Peter’s Way.
Judge Stead added: “I am satisfied from the evidence I have heard that you approached the traffic lights in Turton Street when they were still at red and that you would have clearly seen the lights when you approached.
“It was also a junction you were familiar with and I am sure that you decided to drive across that junction at a red light deliberately.”
Judge Stead said Torkington’s actions had been a “grossly dangerous thing to do” and added: “This was seriously culpable behaviour on your part.”
Torkington had not been driving above the speed limit when she collided with Mr and Mrs Farrell’s vehicle.
Judge Stead described the devastating impact the crash had on Mr Farrell after his wife was killed.
He suffered a broken collar bone and ribs and damage to his brain.
Judge Stead added: “It is difficult to try to assess the effect this accident has had upon him, but he has said the physical pain is nothing compared to what he is feeling because of the loss of his wife.”
Torkington also suffered physical injuries as well as amnesia from the crash.
Her children range in age from three to 15 years old.
Chief Insp Rachel Buckle, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This woman (Laura Farrell) had her life tragically cut short because of the actions of Sheri Torkington.
“At no point did she admit her guilt and subjected the victim’s family to a lengthy trial.
“Torkington disregarded the law and drove at speed through a red light.
“Even a split second of carelessness can have devastating consequences; the road traffic laws are in place for a reason.
“Torkington has been sentenced, but she has to live with what she has done for the rest of her life.”