Female driver who killed elderly couple after smashing her Volkswagen Golf head on into them while using her phone is jailed for nine years

A female motorist who ‘showed little remorse’ after killing an ‘extraordinary’ elderly couple in a horrifc head-on car crash while using her mobile phone has been jailed for nine years.

Patricia Pringle, 56, was behind the wheel of a blue Volkswagen Golf when she veered onto the opposite side of the road and crashed into a silver Fiat Qubo.

Emergency services rushed to the scene, but retired geologist Clive Jones OBE, 89, and his wife Elaine, 82, a former archeologist, could not be saved.

Pringle was taken to hospital with a broken arm following the horrific smash on the A47 in Barrowden, Rutland, on May 9, 2022.

One motorist, who had been following Pringle, later told police she had implied she was holding her mobile phone at the point the collision occurred.

Patricia Pringle, 56, has been jailed for nine years after killing an ‘extraordinary’ elderly couple in a head-on car crash on the A47 in Barrowden, Rutland, while using her mobile phone

Retired geologist Clive Jones OBE, 89, and his wife Elaine, 82, a former archeologist, died in the crash in May 2022

Retired geologist Clive Jones OBE, 89, and his wife Elaine, 82, a former archeologist, died in the crash in May 2022

Examinations of her phone revealed she had been on a call at the time of the crash.

Pringle, of Spinney Hill, Leicester, pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and possession of cannabis, a controlled drug of class B.

On Friday she was jailed and banned from driving for five years which will begin on her release from prison and she will have to take an extended retest.

After the case, Clive and Elaine’s family paid an emotional tribute to the ‘extraordinary’ couple who were much-loved and popular members of the their local community.

They said: ‘Our parents were extraordinary people. Every day was lived to full capacity.

‘They both had such wide and varied interests and belonged to, and led, a variety of different groups and societies. They also warmly welcomed all to their home.

‘They were loved by their family and were very well known within the community of Uppingham. They had many friends from all walks of life.

‘They met and married in Malaya in the 1960s. They returned to the UK briefly for dad to finish his PhD in geology and to start a family.

‘We were posted first to Iran and then, in the early 1970s, moved to Africa.

‘Here dad became the director of the Geological Survey and mum discovered an enduring passion for archaeology, completing a degree in the subject on our return to the UK in the late 1980s.

‘Mum then dedicated herself to the archaeology of Rutland and her extensive findings have since been catalogued for Oakham Museum.

Clive and Elaine's family paid an emotional tribute to the 'extraordinary' couple who were much-loved and popular members of the their local community

Clive and Elaine’s family paid an emotional tribute to the ‘extraordinary’ couple who were much-loved and popular members of the their local community

‘Dad’s incredible knowledge of the geology of Malaya, Iran, and Botswana were rewarded not only by the Malayan government with an Order of the Defender of the Realm (Ahli Mangku Negara or AMN), but also by the British government with an OBE. His work is still in use to this day.

‘The shock, horror, and disbelief of their deaths remains with so many people – their family, friends and their community.

‘The police have worked for over two years for justice to be served on the totally avoidable killing of our parents.

‘As a family, we will never not know how they died, the extent of their injuries, and the trauma of being informed of their deaths and the days, months and years that followed.

‘Their remaining years were stolen from them and from us. We never had the chance to say goodbye. We miss them each day and in so many ways.

‘That they died together is a blessing as they did everything together in life.’

Detective Constable Emma Mitchell, of Leicestershire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU), said after the case: ‘ Throughout the investigation, Pringle appeared to show very little remorse for her actions.

‘However, I’m pleased she faced up to what she’d done.

‘While no sentence is going to bring Clive and Elaine back, I hope today’s outcome allows their loved ones to feel that justice has been done and provides a degree of closure to them.

‘There’s a reason why using a mobile phone while driving can result in points on your licence.

‘I would like to think this case serves as a stark warning to road users who think it’s acceptable to do so that their actions can have fatal consequences.’

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