'Tragic' Alfold crash driver sentenced after death of 'delightful lady' Jane Pace

Teenager Harry Moore, 18, has been banned from driving after a "tragic" accident which led to the death of a "delightful lady" who "dedicated a large part of her life to others", but was spared an immediate jail sentence as the court heard of the "considerable impact" the crash had on him.

Harry Moore, 18, of Moushill Lane, appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday September 20,  2016 for sentencing after pleading guilty to causing the death of Jane Pace, 58, by driving a Citroen van on Loxwood Road in Alfold without due care and attention.

The court heard Moore, who was visibly upset in the dock during the proceedings, was a "hard working young man" on whom the crash had had a "considerable impact". 

On October 28, 2015 at around 7.15am, Moore was driving his van through Alfold on Loxwood Road in "damp conditions", the court heard. “Immediately after a right hand bend, he found himself on the wrong side of the carriageway,” said prosecutor Simon Shannon. “He collided with Miss Pace’s Toyota. The force of the impact pushed her vehicle backwards very close to the Post Office.”

Miss Pace, who worked at Royal Surrey County Hospital, was pronounced dead at the scene. The court was told her car’s airbag went off, and there was no evidence of a seat belt being worn. Moore struck Miss Pace’s vehicle at a corner, which a neighbour described at the time as "one of several danger zones" in Loxwood Road. There was no suggestion from the prosecution Moore was speeding or distracted by a mobile phone. Mr Shannon said the Crown believed the incident was caused by a "momentary lapse" or "misreading of the road". Judge Stephen Climie said Moore had been driving for just seven months prior to the accident, and the van involved for just a week.

A statement read out in court on behalf of Steven Pace, Miss Pace’s brother, said: “I lost my parents when I was quite young. Jane was the closest relative I had. I feel a little more alone in the world now. Her life was lost in such an unnecessary manner in which she had no control. Many of Jane’s friends could not make the funeral as they live abroad. The reality has struck them that they will never see her again.”

Mr Shannon said Moore was "physically and mentally shaken up" at the scene and has been referred by his GP to see a counsellor after admitting he has sleepless nights and recounts the accident on a daily basis. “There are no winners in cases like this,” said defence Alex Stein “It is a tragedy for all concerned. What I hope is apparent is the remorse he shows himself. There was an accident a week after and it does appear to be a difficult corner. And that plays into Mr Moore’s inexperience in driving.”

Addressing Moore, Judge Climie said: “On that morning, Jane Pace left home expecting to go to work like any other day in her dedication to helping others. She was to embark on a journey that would tragically be her last. You were the cause of her death. That cause was primarily as a result of your inexperience and very briefly a misjudgment of a part of the road which resulted in you losing control for a few seconds, driving front on into Miss Pace’s vehicle".  

He added: Nothing I say or do now can sadly in any way alleviate the pain and suffering for her family. You have to live with this for the rest of your life. She was quite clearly a delightful lady who committed her life to the wellbeing and education of others. She was a teacher for much of her life and more recently had been working with children with special needs and family issues.

At the time, Royal Surrey County Hospital paid tribute to Miss Pace, saying: “She was always happy and her positive outlook was infectious.”

Moore was sentenced to an 18-month community order of 200 hours’ unpaid work. He was suspended from driving for 12 months and will need to take an extended driving test afterwards.

A petition , which argued "something needs to be done" about the road, was set up days after the death of Miss Pace of Kirdford, West Sussex, with the aim of making the village a "safer place".