South East Coast Ambulance driver who caused death of paramedic by careless driving avoids jail

Alice Clark died two months after qualifying as a paramedic. Credit: SECAmb

An ambulance driver who crashed, killing a young paramedic, has received a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Newly qualified paramedic Alice Clark, was on board the South East Coast ambulance being driven by Edward Riding when it collided with a lorry near Tonbridge in 2022.

Edward Riding from Crowborough was said to be driving the vehicle to an emergency with blue lights.

The scene of the collision on the A21 near Tonbridge in January 2022. Credit: ITV Meridian

Alice Clark's family say that she was so excited to have qualified as a paramedic that she looked forward to every shift.

But two months into her new job, the 21-year-old was killed while responding to a 999 call.

Alice was a passenger in an ambulance which collided with a cement lorry on the A21 near Tonbridge on a January night in 2022.

The driver of the ambulance, Edward Riding, 45, admitted causing Alice's death by careless driving.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Riding was driving at over 80mph when he mistook a lay-by for the exit that he needed.

The ambulance hit a kerb, struck one parked lorry, then hit the rear of another.

Alice Clark suffered catastrophic injuries and died at the scene. Riding was airlifted to hospital with multiple injuries, while another student paramedic who was in the back of the ambulance was also seriously hurt.

Paramedics formed a guard of honour at the funeral of Alice Clark. Credit: ITV Meridian

At the funeral of Alice Clark, paramedics formed a guard of honour as the hearse arrived at the Garden of England crematorium near Sittingbourne.

Her former colleagues spoke of their profound sense of loss after her tragic death.

The prosecution told the court that Edward Riding had a reputation for driving fast and showing off behind the wheel.

On one occasion, he said he wanted to turn a student paramedic as green as her uniform.

The judge told Riding that on the night in question, he'd made a terrible mistake through inattention.

The paramedic was given a suspended prison sentence of nine months.

Alice Clark's father told the court that her 'brilliant life had been cut far too short by a careless act that could and should have been avoided.'

He said her death had a devastating impact on her family and they found it hard to comprehend that she was gone.

Alice Clar's family say her 'brilliant life was cut short.' Credit: ITV Meridian

A South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with Alice’s family and everyone affected by this tragic incident.

"We welcome the conclusion of the court case but understand that is a very difficult time for all those affected.

"We will ensure support is available to any colleagues who require it.”

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