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A Herefordshire man is taking a civil case against a persistent careless driver who killed his wife in a road traffic accident last year. The judge withheld notice of the driver’s previous history of similar offences from the jury which meant that the man in question, was let off on a minor charge and has gone on to commit several other road traffic offences since.

On 6th March 2006 the lives of the Ludlow family from Bromyard changed forever. Mr John Ludlow 59, was driving his wife, 48 year old Diane from their home in Bromyard to Worcester where she worked.

As they made their way along the A44, near Cotheridge, they were involved in a head-on collision with a car travelling towards them on their side of the road. The driver of the car that hit them was Justin Cramman also from Bromyard. Mr and Mrs Ludlow were taken separately to hospital by ambulance. Mr Ludlow later learned that his wife had died in the ambulance.

Cramman was charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving and was tried at Worcester Crown Court between the 28th February 2007 and 1st March 2007. The jury cleared him of this offence and he was banned from driving for eighteen months and fined. What the jury did not know is that he had been involved in two other incidents on the same stretch of road in the months leading up to the death of Diane Ludlow. In both instances Cramman had attempted to overtake another vehicle on a blind bend. One of the incidents was actually caught on police video camera and Cramman was warned by the police that if he kept driving in this manner he would kill someone. Some months later Diane Ludlow died as a result of an almost identical manoeuvre.

The judge decided not to bring these facts to the attention of the Jury on the basis that the previous incidents were not relevant in deciding whether or not Cramman's driving on the day in question amounted to "dangerous driving". When the Judge proceeded to sentencing following the acquittal on dangerous driving but conviction on the lesser charge of careless driving, all twelve members of the jury were visibly shaken when they found out what had been kept from them. One of the jury members was reduced to tears.

Mr and Mrs Ludlow had known each other since they were fifteen and had been married for 30 years. They had an extremely close relationship and had two children, James, 26 and Katie, 23.

Mr Ludlow, who suffered a heart attack in April this year which was brought on by stress following the accident and his attendance at trial is now trying to rebuild his life after losing his wife. This has been made even harder by the news that Cramman, following a charge of drink-driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance in October this year has yet again escaped prison.

"My son, my daughter and I feel deeply let down by the criminal justice system in this country. It is no wonder no-one has any respect for the law. The system is weighted towards the criminal and not the victim or the victim's family. It seems as if nothing can stop this man. I have felt right from the start that my wife has had a very raw deal out of all of this".

"I feel sorry for the police. They do the best they can with what they have but all their good work goes to waste when cases come to trial with judges who do not live in the real world. My family and I will be glad when all this is over and we can move on with our lives". Mr Ludlow is being represented by Peter Savage a personal injury specialist at leading Worcestershire law firm Harrison Clark LLP, is bringing a civil claim against Cramman arising out of the death of his late wife.

For further information on this press release, please contact Peter Savage at Harrison Clark LLP on Tel: 01905 744987 or e-mail psavage@harrison-clark.co.uk

Photo Caption: Mr John Ludlow

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Photo enquiries: Mr Tony Flanagan, The Old Cider Mill, Droitwich Road Feckenham, Worcestershire B96 6JE Tel: 07831 605 267

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