A 49-year-old woman has been sentenced to 30 months in jail despite an appeal by her lawyer claiming that her weight would put her health at risk in prison.
Linda Jenns of Kent, England, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving after running a red light in January 2014 and causing fatal injuries to Paul Stinton, 45.
“I have heard together with the jury and from a number of eye witnesses that you were driving at a fast speed,” Judge Heather Norton stated in court, according to Mirror. “When you approached the crossing, the light turned amber and Mr. Stinton was standing at the level crossing. It wasn't just other motorists that noticed Mr. Stinton standing at the crossing; you did too.
"He looked at your car, started to walk across the road when he thought it was safe to cross, and then he changed his mind and went back to the central reservation when he saw you coming.”
“The collision with Mr. Stinton came about because you drove through the red light and it's as simple as that,” Norton concluded.
Jenns’ sentencing had been postponed for two weeks in order to allow medical reports to be gathered on the health impact of her obesity.
“As it is, she is grossly overweight, morbidly obese, and since the incident, [she] has put on even more weight,” lawyer Ian Bridge told the court, according to Mirror. “She is a person for whom a prison sentence would be extraordinarily difficult, and I don't think I exaggerate when I say she might not get through it.”
Norton disagreed and noted that while she had taken into account Jenns’ health problems, a prison term was still appropriate.
“The way in which this case was reported regarding my client's size has had a massive impact on her,” Bridge explained. “This has been like the modern day equivalent on the stocks, and the last week has been a very difficult week for my client.”
Kent Online reported that a relative of Jenns had to be taken out of school because of bullying caused by the incident.
Bridge was also critical of online comments on some of the media reports.
“It is almost as if being grossly overweight is regarded in certain parts of the Press as being the modern-day equivalent to leprosy as described in the New Testament,” he said, according to Kent Online.