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Hanson School, Swain House, teacher gets driving ban and unpaid work sentence
A Bradford teacher whose careless driving caused the death of a grandmother has been sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.
Mark Dunnell, a teacher at Hanson School, Swain House, was acquitted of causing June Donlan’s death by dangerous driving part-way through his trial at Bradford Crown Court yesterday. He then admitted the less serious offence of causing death by careless driving, and failing to stop after an accident.
During the trial, the jury heard Dunnell’s Suzuki Vitara collided with a Jaguar driven by Greg Dolan near Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, on December 2 last year.
The impact deflected the Jaguar onto a traffic island, pinning Mrs Donlan, 68, under the wheels. She died at the scene. Judge Peter Benson directed the jury to clear both men of causing death by dangerous driving after the prosecution case.
Dolan, 45, of Savile Park, Halifax, walked free from court.
Michael Leeming, Dunnell’s barrister, said: “If the defendant could turn back the clock, he would.” He told the court Dunnell, 38, panicked after the accident, caused by momentary inattention. He said Dunnell was back at the scene in minutes and broke down when told there had been a fatality.
Father-of-three Dunnell, a teacher for children with particular needs, was “hard-working and highly-regarded,” the court heard.
Dunnell, who was in the filter lane turning right in Dryclough Lane, either did not see the Jaguar or misread the situation when he set off across the busy Huddersfield Road, the court heard.
Dunnell, of Banksfield Road, Mytholmroyd, Halifax, who has a conviction for driving with excess alcohol dating from 2005, was banned from driving for two and a half years and ordered to pay £250 prosecution costs.