Motorist with steamed-up windows killed pensioner in Monmouth car park, court hears

Cardiff Crown Court heard May Mustey’s car windows were steamed up but due to her "impatience", she drove with her head out the driver side window. Credit: PA Images

A motorist killed a pensioner in a car park after being unable to see her due to the vehicle's steamed-up windows, a court heard.

May Mustey, 45, hit Gwendoline Owen, 75, in the Waitrose car park in Monmouth, south Wales, on the afternoon of 31 December 2022.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Mustey’s car windows were steamed up but due to her "impatience", she was driving with her head stuck out of the window and eyewitnesses watched her erratic driving.

As she left the car park she struck Mrs Owen, who suffered fatal head injuries and died hours later in hospital, with her car.

John Ryan, prosecuting, told the court the collision took place at around 4.15 pm on New Year’s Eve as it was getting dark.

Mr Ryan said: "She started the vehicle and waited for a little bit for the heaters and air vents to clear the glass and said that she began to drive when she could see only through the lower half of the windscreen.

"She also said that having completed a right-hand turn she realised that she had no view through the glass.

"So she stopped her vehicle, lowered the driver’s side window and stretched her head outside of the vehicle to give some forward view as she restarted her journey through the car park and prepared to complete a second right-hand turn, which is where the fatal collision took place.

"She confirmed she did not lower the passenger side window so effectively had no left-hand view.

"She said she then heard a thump or bump noise from the front of her car and saw the top half of a figure colliding with the front of her car and falling away.

"The prosecution’s case is this, whilst at that time, it was dark or dusk, the car park was well lit.

"Mrs Mustey chose to drive the vehicle knowing she had limited visibility by giving insufficient time for her windows to be demisted.

"She also had her windscreen wipers set as an incorrect setting to effectively clear the rain from her windscreen.

"Mrs Mustey cut the corner near the supermarket entrance and drove harshly over an empty disabled parking space – an indicator of how little she could see."

The court heard Mrs Owen’s husband was in poor health and living in a care home and there were no other surviving relatives.

At a previous hearing Mustey, of Maypole, Monmouth, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Owen Williams, defending, said Mustey had written a "heartfelt and genuine letter of apology" to the family of Mrs Owen.

He added: "There is a pre-sentence report and a number of character references that provides full details of Mrs Mustey’s life history and her personal circumstances.

"There are a number of references from friends and colleagues who highlight the very positive features of their personality – honest, generous and a caring person, friend and colleague and also a devoted and loving mother and wife.”

The court heard Mustey had since lost her job as a teaching assistant in a school.

Judge Paul Hobson imposed a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned her from driving for five years.

He also ordered Mustey to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay prosecution costs of £1,200.

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