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Driver, 23, ‘killed motorist after texting MONKEY emoji to a friend’ 

Gemma Evans, 23, is accused of using her mobile phone while driving

A driver was sending ‘cheeky monkey’ emojis and messages on Facebook and WhatsApp when she ploughed into and killed motorist, a court heard.

Gemma Evans, 23, is accused of using her mobile phone to send messages joking she had ‘overslept’ while driving in the dark at 50mph in Powys, Wales.

She was ‘grossly distracted’, causing her black Mini to veer into the path of 58-year-old Diane Price, who was killed outright, a jury has heard. 

Police seized Evans’s mobile phone and found a series of messages which the prosecution claim she sent while driving.

Evans claimed she put her mobile in the car’s cup holder on the morning of the accident and didn’t use it during her journey.

But police reconstructed the accident using information from a roadside camera which clocked the young driver as she went past.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard it provided conclusive evidence that she was sending messages while at the wheel.

Prosecutor Thomas Scapens said: ‘Experts have concluded there was no medical reason for Gemma Evans to leave her lane.

‘There were no mechanical defects with her car and no animals or obstructions in the road. Gemma Evans did not see the car approaching, she did not brake before leaving her lane.

‘We know that something else happened – we examined her mobile phone and found she was using it up to the point of collision.’

Evans was driving to work at 7.30am on December 9, 2016 while Mrs Price was coming the other way after spending the night caring for her elderly father.

The court heard Evans’s Mini suddenly veered across the road on a straight stretch of the A40, near Brecon, Powys.

Other motorists and paramedics gave CPR but Ms Price died of catastrophic injuries at the scene.

Police seized Evans's mobile phone and found a series of messages which the prosecution claim she sent while driving

The court heard Evans was ‘grossly distracted’, causing her black Mini to veer into the path of 58-year-old Diane Price, who was killed outright

The jury was given a print-out of Evans’s mobile phone activity in the minutes before the crash near the village of Llanspyddyd.

It showed she exchanged messages with friend Kirsty Arrowsmith making arrangements for a girls’ night out and signed off with ‘cheeky monkey’ and ‘thumbs up’ emojis.

Mr Scapens said: ‘The first message from Miss Arrowsmith at 7.25am said: ‘Hey you, drinking tonight or having a quiet one?

‘Miss Evans replied with four heart emojis saying: ‘Overslept.com’ along with a monkey face and three kisses.’

The two friends then swapped messages about what they were going to wear on the night out using what the prosecution described as ‘cheeky monkey’ emojis.

Mr Scapens told the jury: ‘Gemma Evans received another message from Kirsty Arrowsmith two minutes and nine seconds before the 999 call was made to report the accident.

‘The pattern of the phone activity shows that Gemma Evans was grossly distracted while she was driving her car.

‘That is the only logical explanation for the accident – the only reason was the mobile phone.’

The court heard as a result of her injuries sustained in the accident, Evans has no memory of what happened.

Evans, from Brecon, denies causing death by dangerous driving but admits causing death by careless driving.

The trial continues. 

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