Dangerous driver who killed premature baby in crash jailed

Stephen Stennett pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to causing death by dangerous driving.

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A driver who killed a premature baby in a two-vehicle crash has been jailed for three years.

Stephen Stennett, 23, had a head-on collision with a van on the B9157 near Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Heavily pregnant Shannon Myers was a passenger in Stennett’s Seat Leon.

The 18-year-old, who was 30 weeks pregnant, had to have an emergency C-section where son Luke Myers was born.

However, the baby died, aged 32 minutes, despite efforts to save him.

Ms Myers said: “Losing my baby was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and no sentence could ever reflect this pain which will stay with me forever.

“When you are pregnant people warn you of all the things to expect or be aware of – but you never think something like this will happen.

“I would like to thank my friends and family for all their support but now I just want some peace.”

On Friday, Stennett was sentenced having earlier pled guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Lady Stacey said: “This was a tragic and as a result of your driving a young woman had to have her baby delivered and that he died shortly afterwards.

“You, your family and friends know you have to live with that for the rest of your life.

“Nothing can reconcile Ms Myers to the loss of her baby nor will the passing of a sentence cure her anguish.

“You are a young man interested in cars and driving. You should be someone who knows to take care at all times while driving.

“Although not a previous conviction, I was disappointed to see that you have points on your licence since this happened and would not have been aware until you told the social worker about it.”

Stennett, a first offender from Cowdenbeath, Fife, will also be banned from the road for five years and three months.

The court earlier heard how the tragedy occurred after he attempted a “dangerous” overtaking manoeuvre.

Prosecutor Murdoch McTaggart said: “The accused pulled out and drove into the path of an oncoming van.

“The accused’s vehicle ended up in a ditch on the side of the road.”

Ms Myers, who was in the front passenger seat, complained about pain in her abdomen and was taken to hospital by a concerned witness.

A scan showed the baby had a heartbeat of 60 beats per minute.

Mr McTaggart said: “This was regarded as low and gave cause for concern.”

An emergency C-section was performed and baby Luke was born “floppy and unresponsive with no signs of life”.

Medics fought to save Luke’s life and CPR was attempted to restart his heartbeat.

Mr McTaggart said: “At 12 minutes after birth no heartbeat could be detected.

“He was given oxygen and adrenaline and the resuscitation team continued to treat him, however, his heartbeat did not return.

“At 32 minutes of full resuscitation all team members agreed to withdraw life support and life was pronounced extinct.”

Luke’s cause of death was stated as “complications of traumatic abruption due to road traffic collision.”

Pathologists found Luke with red marks on his face as well as fractures to his collarbone and four ribs.

Ms Myers suffered broken toes and a fractured arm which was placed in a cast.

A 15-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the car, received a fractured spine, collarbone and sternum.

A 15-year-old male passenger suffered a fractured spine and eye bone as well as a minor head injury.

Van driver Ian Baker, his wife Clara and their ten-year-old daughter, who was in the passenger seat, escaped with minor injuries.

Stennett, who worked for Virgin Media, was later traced and arrested when he admitted being the driver of the car.

Mr McTaggart added: “He earlier told a witness that the collision was his fault and that when he seen the van he tried to get in the ditch but that he still hit it.”

Ms Myers paid tribute to Luke on Facebook shortly after his death.

She said: “You will get your justice and the best send off I love you so much my handsome little boy.”

Shelagh McCall QC, defending, told the court Stennett feels genuine remorse for the victims.

The lawyer added: “Only through momentary ill attention he failed to see the oncoming van and he takes full responsibility for the collision and for the death of Luke Myers and injuries to the others involved.”

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