A mother who killed a great-gradmother and left her own five-year-old daughter paralysed in a head-on horror crash has escaped jail.
Leonie Troke, 38, walked free from court on Friday after being told by a judge that no sentence could match the great pain she endures every day.
District judge John Woollard said tearful Troke would face “a greater punishment than any court could impose” as she looked after her seriously-disabled little girl Lucille.
The girl cannot move from the waist downwards and needs round-the-clock care.
Heartbroken Troke, who broke down and wept, was hauled into court after she caused the deadly smash at Little Wigborough, Essex, at 1pm on July 25 last year.
The mother-of-two clipped a kerb in her Volkswagen Polo before swerving onto the other side of the road – ploughing into an oncoming Vauxhall Astra.
Great-grandmother Jean Wilcox, 82, a front passenger in the Astra, died at the scene.
Her daughter Karen Amner, who was driving, broke her pelvis.
Troke, of Wendover, Aylesbury, Bucks, smashed her femur and dislocated her foot, Colchester magistrates’ court heard.
Lucille suffered a horrifying catalogue of injuries to her liver, kidneys, spleen, diaphragm, lungs, spine and brain leaving her fighting for her life.
The schoolgirl has been left paralysed below the waist, with one working kidney, and with permanent damage to her bladder.
Troke’s youngest daughter Josephine, who was two at the time, miraculously escaped unhurt.
Henny Tatum, prosecuting, told JPs the collision happened close to the junction with Copt Hall Lane as Troke was returning from a holiday on nearby Mersea Island.
Miss Tatum said there were no defects with either car and conditions were good.
She said Troke had not been speeding and stressed that Mrs Amner could not have done anything to avoid colliding.
Mark Haslam, defending, said Troke had no previous convictions and a clean driving record and branded the incident “a complete tragedy”.
Mr Haslam said: “The loss of Jean Wilcox is clearly devastating for her family, and the knowledge for the defendant that she was responsible is devastating for her.
“There was never a deliberate act on her part that an accident should happen.
“It was a momentary attention lapse followed possibly by over-correction, which had catastrophic consequences.”
Troke, who wept in the dock, admitted death by careless driving.
Sentencing, Judge Woollard told her: “I want to express the sadness I have that nothing I can do today is going to have the effect of bringing Mrs Wilcox back or repairing the serious injuries cased to your daughter.
“This family has had terrible circumstances, you can fully understand the grief they have.
“I don’t think they would think punishing you would help them get over the terrible consequences of what must have been a really cruel twist of fate.”
He added: “I take into account the remorse you have expressed, which is genuine.
“You are going to be faced with Mrs Wilcox every day of your life from now onwards every time you going to look after your disabled daughter.
“And that will be a punishment greater than any court can impose on you.”
Judge Woollard gave Troke a year-long community order with 180 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation and restorative justice element.
He also banned her from driving for 18 months and ordered her to pay £145 costs and court charges.
No order was made for compensation as this will be dealt with by a civil court through insurance companies.
Letters from Mrs Wilcox’s devastated family were read out in court yesterday paying tribute to a family matriarch.
They revealed the pensioner was going to see her first great-grand-daughter for the first time when she was tragically killed.
Distraught Mrs Amner spoke in her letter of the guilt she feels over her mother’s death – even though the court heard there was nothing she could have done.
In her victim impact statement she said she had not driven for six months after the tragedy and still felt anxious in a car.
Mrs Anmer said the massive blow had had an impact on her social life and made it difficult to visit her loved ones.
“On the day of the accident I was taking my mum to see her first great-granddaughter for the first time.
“This is someone she will sadly never meet.
“I found it extremely difficult to tell my family about the accident with my feelings of guilt, but they have been so supportive of me,” she said.
“My mum will be missed by so many, not only her family but by friends and neighbours too.”
She spoke of spending every Christmas with her mum for the last 24 years after her dad passed away.
A letter from Danielle Amner, Mrs Wilcox’s grand-daughter, was also read to the court.
Danielle said: “It is extremely difficult to list all the ways the accident has affected our family.
“Losing a grandparent is never easy but even harder under these awful, unexpected circumstances.
“It was extremely difficult to hear the results of the postmortem examination, knowing the only reason she is no longer with us is because of the accident and no other pre-existing medical condition.
“We are a very close family, and every weekend we would visit our nan – ‘Jean’s Cafe’.
“There was never a dull moment.
“Nan would be extremely proud of the way we all pulled together.”
After the hearing, Marsden Amner, Karen’s husband, said on behalf of the family: “Today brings to an end some of the pain of the last 14 months.
“No-one on that day set out to cause injury but the day ended with catastrophic results for everyone concerned.
“We would like to thank everyone involved for their help at a difficult time.”
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