The family of a 23-year-old mum from Hockley have reacted with outrage after she was jailed for six months at Southend Magistrates Court yesterday – she received the sentence after dashboard camera footage proved that she used the zebra crossing at the Spa mini-roundabout in Hockley Town Centre without thanking the driver who stopped and allowed her to cross. Road safety campaigners have vowed to launch a campaign against her ‘excessive and unfair’ jail term.
Passing the sentence in court yesterday, Madeline Shrip QC said: ‘On March 17th 2016 at 10.30am, you were waiting at the crossing with your double pushchair to cross the road, and an approaching taxi driver carried out his legal duty by slowing down and stopping so you could cross to the other side. The footage shows that while you looked at the driver and smiled, there was no visible element of thanking the driver – this could have been a wave or even a nod in his direction. While the court appreciates that you needed both hands to control the pushchair, you could have easily stopped mid-crossing, applied your brakes and used one hand to thank the driver in this manner. On this occasion, I am proposing the full six-month jail term that the law prescribes as a maximum for anti-social crossing usage.’
A spokesperson for the CPS added: ‘The motorist in question was left shaken by this incident, and as a result he was in a distressed state when a nearby speed camera snapped him at 63 mph just 30 seconds later – this was 33 mph above the limit. Given the difficult circumstances behind this motoring offence, we have asked the court to downgrade his penalty to a written warning, and he will be offered the option to attend a speed awareness course in the future if he feels the need to do so.’
He added: ‘This case is a reminder of every pedestrian’s duty to treat motorists with respect and consideration. Zebra crossings add seconds and minutes to car journey times every single day, and local councils will consider removing them in areas where pedestrians show a repeated lack of respect to the kind and considerate motorists who graciously allow people to get from one pavement to the other.’