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Man jailed for three years for killing church volunteer during drug-fuelled speeding frenzy

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Margaret Adams with her son Patrick. Source: GoFundMe

A speeding driver who killed a church volunteer as she walked home with her shopping has been jailed for three years.

Stephen Milligan says he was "goaded" by another motorist before losing control of his Nissan 350z at nearly twice the 30mph speed limit, mounting the pavement and careening into 60-year-old Margaret Adams, killing her instantly.

Milligan, who had cocaine in his system at the time of the incident, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday.

At his sentencing, Judge Anthony Potter said: "The sad fact is there is nothing I can do by way of sentence which can possibly reflect the loss of Mrs Adams to her family. As Mr Adams has said in his statement, if you had behaved differently that night his mother would still be alive." 

Judge Potter recalled the timeline of events, telling Milligan that he "set off on a mundane journey" into the town of Rugby, before engaging in a game of cat and mouse with a fellow motorist. 

"It is obvious the Audi slowed unnecessarily as it was going through the gyratory system and then accelerated away along Bilton Road, a road lined with residential properties," the judge explained. "Sadly you viewed the actions of the Audi as some form of goading. When that vehicle accelerated, notwithstanding that yours has been a good driving record, you ignored the speed limit and set off in pursuit.

"You were responding to the actions of another motorist who it might be thought has been fortunate in not facing any form of prosecution.

"As you approached a bend, as Mrs Adams was walking with her shopping, you accelerated, and as a result, in part because of the speed and in part because yours was a rear-wheel-drive car and the tyres were in poor condition, you lost control. Your car came off the carriageway onto the pathway where Mrs Adams was, and hit her."

The road where the incident took place. Credit: Google Streetview

The road where the incident took place. Credit: Google Streetview

Potter added that, "mercifully [Adams] would have known little about that collision because she was killed instantly" and that she "has left behind her a devastated family."

The judge went on to note that Milligan's speed was "at times was very close to twice the speed limit", and that this alone "created a substantial risk of danger". 

"It is plain to me your actions on that night were out of character," he added. "I take your letter and your guilty plea as a real indication of remorse." 

Following his arrest, Milligan said he could not explain why he reacted so strongly to the Audi's beavuour, and insisted that he was normally a safe driver.

In his letter to the court, the defendant said: "I wish to apologise sincerely to every member of the family of Mrs Adams for the loss and damage caused by my actions.

"The events of that evening will stay with me for the rest of my life, and what has happened does not sit easily with me at all.

"There has not been a day gone by that I have not spent time thinking about this. I can't imagine the pain I have caused." 

Margaret Adams' son, Patrick, called his mother "the most loving, kind and generous person you could meet". 

Along with his prison sentence, Milligan will also be banned from driving for eight and a half years. 



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