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Driver Melanie Last passes ‘heartfelt sympathy’ to William’s Plewman’s family after she is cleared of causing his death on A146 near Thurton

PUBLISHED: 08:18 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 28 March 2017

William Plewman, who died in the crash near Thurton. Picture: Courtesy of family.

William Plewman, who died in the crash near Thurton. Picture: Courtesy of family.

Courtesy of family

A woman passed on her “heartfelt sympathy” to the family of a 78-year-old man after she was cleared of causing his death in a three-vehicle crash.

Melanie Last, 50, was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving of William Plewman in the crash on the A146, near Thurton.

When the not guilty verdict was delivered today after a week-long trial, Mrs Last wept in the dock.

Afterwards her legal team Fosters Solicitors released a statement in which she thanked the emergency services and expressed her sorrow and sympathy to Mr Plewman’s family.

His family also released a statement, in which they “accepted” the ruling of the jury, but added: “The verdict remains incomprehensible to us, his family.”

Norwich Crown Court heard that Mrs Last, of Burlingham Drive, Carlton Colville, was driving a black BMW towards Norwich, when she had a “momentary lapse” and drifted onto the wrong side of the road, causing a collision which left her and two other drivers with serious injuries.

Mazda pick-up driver Mr Plewman, from Stratford Upon Avon, received serious internal injuries and later died.

Mrs Last denied causing the death by careless driving of Mr Plewman on June 29, 2015 and the jury took just over two-and-a-half hours to clear her unanimously.

Mrs Last, who the court heard has been driving for over 30 years and passed an advanced driving course, said she accepted her car crossed into the other carriageway but could not explain how it happened.

After she was cleared her statement thanked the jury for reaching their verdict in what was a “very difficult, tragic and deeply upsetting case”.

Damien Moore, a solicitor and partner at Fosters Solicitors, said: “The nightmare of this fatal collision will inevitably remain with Mrs Last for the rest of her life. She is however incredibly relieved at the verdict returned by the jury, who have reaffirmed that she was in no way to blame for the tragedy.”

He added: “For nearly two years we have worked relentlessly to show that Mrs Last was not responsible for causing this fatal collision. We set about at a very early stage putting together a team which would secure the right outcome, which included instructing an experienced forensic road traffic consultant.”

Mr Moore said: “We are delighted with the findings of the jury but recognise this was a deeply upsetting case for all parties concerned and our own thoughts naturally extend to the family of the deceased too.”

After the case the family of Mr Plewman, who attended every day during the week-long trial, issued a statement which described the tragedy as a “nightmare”.

They said: “We as a family have reached the end of this part of the nightmare and will now be able to properly grieve the loss of a very much loved husband, father and brother; as well as a good and valued friend to so many people whose lives he touched.

“He was killed as a direct result of someone driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic. The accident also caused lasting physical harm to the person travelling in the car behind him.”

They added: “We are unhappy with the result of the jury that Bill’s death was not caused by careless driving. The verdict remains incomprehensible to us, his family.

“However we accept the ruling of the jury and have nothing more to add to this statement.”

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