Family’s plea over phone use after coach crash death of Newton Poppleford woman

PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 August 2016

Carol Muldoon, from Newton Poppleford, who died in the Age Concern coach crash on May 13, 2014.

Carol Muldoon, from Newton Poppleford, who died in the Age Concern coach crash on May 13, 2014.

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The family of a Newton Poppleford woman killed on a coach trip have called on motorists to think before taking phone calls while driving.

Looe coach crash 3Looe coach crash 3

Carol Muldoon, 68, was killed in a crash on an Age Concern Exmouth-organised coach trip to Cornwall on May 13, 2014, along with Margaret Luxton, 59, from Exmouth. Four others were seriously injured.

Coach driver Martin Chun, 60, was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving and serious injury by dangerous driving at Truro Crown Court.

The court heard Chun had been engaged in a hands-free phone call at the time of the collision.

The court also heard a statement from Carol Muldoon’s partner John Bearman, who had been sitting next to her on the trip, saying that he had suffered daily flashbacks of the image of her injured body on the coach.

He said that since her death, his life ‘simply won’t ever be the same again’.

After the trial, Carol Muldoon’s granddaughter Leah Gasson, speaking on behalf of her family, said: “A beautiful, crazy, special life was lost because of a moment’s distraction. This sentence brings some closure, of course, but our Nanny still isn’t here, nor ever will be again.

“We bear no ill will towards Martin Chun, but do ask that people think first before taking that phone call, hands free or not.

“If it can wait, it should. If Mr Chun had waited, chances are that Nan would have been alive to meet her great-grandson this week.”

In a statement read to the court describing the events of the crash, Mr Bearman said: “Without any warning the coach violently rocked to the near side. The coach hit the nearside hedge. We were hit by glass and the windows came in on us.

“It was immediately clear to me Carol had suffered serious injuries. I spoke to Carol and she was unresponsive.

“My life has changed completely. I’ve been left feeling very miserable and depressed.”

Speaking after the trial, Mrs Luxton’s husband Richard said: “In the future Mr Chun can rebuild his life and move on. My family and I will never be able to do that. We have to relive that horrific day for the rest of our lives.”

“My family and I take no pleasure in Mr Chun’s conviction. We only ever wanted justice.”

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