Driver avoids jail after a mum as he failed to clear frosty windscreen

Driver, 81, avoids jail after mowing down and killing mother-of-three standing in the middle of the road after he failed to clear his van’s frosty windscreen

  • Joanna Hallam ,40, was stood in the road for eleven seconds before tragedy
  • Police at the scene noted van’s windscreen was still frosty and no heater was on 
  • Malcolm Dodd, 81, pleaded guilty but avoided jail at Minshull Street Crown Court
  • The mother leaves behind children Chelsea, 24, McCauley, 20, and Karlie, 10

A pensioner who failed to clear the frost from his windscreen killed a mother standing in a road in freezing temperatures after a row with her partner, a court heard.

Malcolm Dodd, 81, was driving along Darnton Road in Stalybridge when he fatally struck mum-of-three, Joanna Hallam.

The 40-year-old was taken to Salford Royal Hospital with catastrophic brain injuries following the incident at 11pm on February 2, 2019 and died two days later.

Minshull Street Crown Court heard today she was a recovering alcoholic and had earlier rowed with longtime partner Luke Shilling who had found out she had been drinking the same evening.

Joanna Hallam, pictured with long term partner Luke Shilling, was hit by the van in February 2019 and died two days later

Malcolm Dodd, 81, walks away from Minshull Street Crown Court. He pleaded guilty but avoided jail

Miss Hallam had been standing in the road for about 11 seconds in minus five degree temperatures before she was hit by Dodd’s Daihatsu Hi-Jet van.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and an officer noted the van’s windscreen was frosty and the heaters had not been used.

Dodd, from Stalybridge, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving but today avoided jail.

Prosecutor Michael Maher said: ‘He failed to properly defrost his windscreen and it was that basic failure that restricted his view and it was that failure that stopped him from being able to keep a proper lookout.’

The beloved mother leaves behind three children as well as a young granddaughter

‘CCTV footage shows the last movements of Miss Hallam…she was barefoot and was wearing dark clothing when she emerged on the road.

‘She was in the road for 11 seconds before he drove into her.’

A female driver, behind the defendant’s van, had desteamed her window and was able to see Miss Hallam walking out from the opposite side of the road, the court heard.

The court was also told she had 244 milligrammes of alcohol in her blood as well as a low concentration of cannabis.  

Mr Shilling said in his statement how Joanna leaves behind her devastated 10-year-old daughter Karlie, as well as Chelsea, 24, and McCauley, 20.

He said: ‘Our lives have changed forever.

Miss Hallam, who was known for her love of huskies, had earlier had a row with her partner as he had discovered the recovering alcoholic had earlier had a drink

‘Our daughter was just 10 when her mum was taken away from us. I realised that I have a young daughter that I will have to bring up on my own.

‘We will have to live with the consequences of Mr Dodd’s actions for the rest of our lives.’

Defending Dodd in court, James Ageros QC said his client, who has been driving for more than 60 years, was ‘profoundly sorry and remorseful’ for his actions.

He said: ‘There has been a degree of speculation in his mind as to why he hit her. It may well be connected with the clearing of his windscreen.

‘It may be that one of the reasons he did not see her was because of the erratic nature of her movements on the night combined with the fact that she was in dark clothing.

‘Whatever is the case, he offers no excuses as to why he did not see her.’

Sentencing, Judge Tina Landale said: ‘Miss Hallam was a much-loved mother and partner. ‘You were driving your car when you collided with her. You had failed to properly clear your windscreen of frost and ice and failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.’

Dodd was handed a nine month sentence suspended for two years.

He will also have to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and was given a two-month curfew.

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