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Speeding motorist who killed a pensioner jailed

Poor-sighted Stephen Farragher was supposed to wear glasses when driving But he didn't have the..



  • Poor-sighted Stephen Farragher was supposed to wear glasses when driving
  • But he didn't have them on when he hit Audrey Tunstall, 79, and Natalli Fisher, 36
  • Farragher, 47, killed Mrs Tunstall and left Ms Fisher with life-changing injuries
  • Farragher, from Cumbria, was jailed for 45 months and banned from driving

By Keiran Southern For Mailonline

Published: 05:49 EDT, 3 November 2017 | Updated: 05:50 EDT, 3 November 2017

A speeding motorist who was not wearing his glasses when he ploughed into two women at 50mph – killing one and leaving the survivor with life-changing injuries – has been jailed for almost four years.

Poor-sighted Stephen Farragher, 47, was supposed to wear glasses as a condition of his driving licence and was traveling at 57mph in a 40mph zone, a court heard.

He was on his way home from his job at Lidl, in Maryport, Cumbria, when he smashed into 79-year-old Audrey Tunstall, and her friend, 36-year-old Natalli Fisher, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The older woman died a short time later from her injuries, while Ms Fisher suffered injuries so severe that she had to spend several months in hospital.

Speeding driver Stephen Farragher has been jailed for killing 79-year-old Audrey Tunstall (pictured). Farragher hit Ms Tunstall and her friend Natalli Fisher, who was seriously injured

Speeding driver Stephen Farragher has been jailed for killing 79-year-old Audrey Tunstall (pictured). Farragher hit Ms Tunstall and her friend Natalli Fisher, who was seriously injured

The court heard that in the seconds before the accident, Farragher, 47, was driving at 57mph in a 40mph zone on the A596 near to Dunmail Park shopping centre.

At the time he was not wearing his glasses, even though it was a condition of his driving licence, the court heard.

At an earlier hearing, Farragher, of Thirlmere Avenue, Workington, had admitted causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Paul Cummings told the court that the accident happened at 7.20pm on October 22 last year, as the defendant was driving his Volkswagen Passat on the A596 through a section of road bordered with bus shelters and pavements.

The prosecutor explained that Ms Fisher and her friend had travelled by bus to a local NHS medical centre, because the pensioner had been feeling unwell.

Afterwards, they took a bus to Dunmail Park, probably so that the pensioner could get her prescription medication from a pharmacy at the shopping centre.

The accident happened in darkness as the two women were crossing the road.

The prosecutor accepted there was an alternative crossing point on the road nearby, in the form of a central traffic island.

CCTV of the tragedy showed the defendant applied his brakes just before the collision, slowing his speed to about 50mph at the moment of impact.

Mr Cummings confirmed the defendant had not been drinking, nor was he using a mobile phone.

'The defendant said he hadn't seen anyone until it was too late,' said Mr Cummings.

Ms Fisher was left with life-changing injuries in the incident and Farragher, who should have been wearing glasses while driving but wasn't, was jailed for 45 monthsMs Fisher was left with life-changing injuries in the incident and Farragher, who should have been wearing glasses while driving but wasn't, was jailed for 45 months

Ms Fisher was left with life-changing injuries in the incident and Farragher, who should have been wearing glasses while driving but wasn't, was jailed for 45 months

A man of previous good character, Farragher had an unblemished 27 year driving career until that point.

Ms Fisher suffered multiple injuries, including compound fractures, a punctured lung, and a head injury which has caused her memory problems.

She was in a coma for 11 days and in hospital for seven months.

The court heard that since the accident Miss Fisher has had to learn again how to speak, read, and eat, and she will never be able to live independently.

In his police interview, Farragher agreed he should have been wearing his glasses at the time, but the judge accepted this made no material difference to the accident, which was caused by the defendant's speed.

Michael Rawlings, for Farragher, said the defendant was remorseful.

Married father-of-two Farragher has suffered post-traumatic stress following the incident.

Passing sentence Judge James Adkin told the defendant that had he been driving within the speed limit the accident may never have happened.

'You reaction time was severely curtailed,' sad the judge.

In addition to the jail term, Farragher will be banned from driving for three years from the point when he is released from his 45 month sentence.

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Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms




The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

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Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official




Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection




The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

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