Sentence 'outrageous' after head-on crash

By Hamish McNeilly

English trio (from left) Alice Scott-Jupp, Laurel Littlejohn and Richard Clark outside the Dunedin District Court. Photo / Gerard O'Brien
English trio (from left) Alice Scott-Jupp, Laurel Littlejohn and Richard Clark outside the Dunedin District Court. Photo / Gerard O'Brien

Alice Scott-Jupp remembers nothing of the head-on crash which left her with 10 broken bones and seven weeks recuperating in hospital.

The 23-year-old was one of three English working holidaymakers left outraged over the home detention sentence handed to the motorist who left them hospitalised and thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

"I thought she was dead when I woke up," back-seat passenger Richard Clark, who suffered a broken back from the impact, said of Miss Scott-Jupp.

"I didn't see anything. I just hear screaming and thinking this is a joke," fellow rear seat passenger Laurel Littlejohn, whose bowel was torn as a result of the impact, said.

Miss Scott-Jupp was driving along Cardrona Valley Rd towards their home in Queenstown when an oncoming Nissan Cefiro crossed the centre line and collided with their rented Hyundai about 4.40pm on July 24.

The trio said they were "very lucky" the passengers of a passing vehicle, three visiting Australian surgeons, were able to assist them at the scene.

The three injured Britons and the two Wanaka-based men from the Nissan were taken to Dunedin Hospital in three helicopters.

Miss Littlejohn said the accident had been traumatic not only on her friends but also their England-based families.

Her family had been contacted to say their daughter was in hospital with "critical injuries" and her mother suffered deep vein thrombosis following her trip to New Zealand after the crash.

"The whole experience has been horrible," she said.

Miss Scott-Jupp, who was having regular physiotherapy, still could not work because of her injuries.

The trio attended the Dunedin District Court yesterday for the appearance of the Nissan driver, James Bradley Creighton.

Mr Clark said he was hopeful Creighton would receive a prison term, after the judge suggested a starting point of three years.

"After all these things were taken off, he decided he [Creighton] gets home detention for nine months ... I was shocked. I couldn't believe it," he said.

"What does he have to do to go to jail ... kill someone?"

Miss Scott-Jupp said the sentence was "outrageous, and he should pay for what he has done and the damage he has caused".

Despite a claim Creighton had written an apology to them, the trio had never received any acknowledgment, Miss Littlejohn said.

"If he is really sorry, it would be nice if we could hear that from him," she said.

The three, who plan to leave New Zealand next April to continue their travels, were left out of pocket by an estimated $30,000.

In court yesterday, Miss Scott-Jupp was awarded $7000 emotional harm reparation, Miss Littlejohn $2000 and Mr Clark $1000.

The two women were covered by ACC after the crash. However, as Mr Clark was waiting for his second working visa, he did not qualify.

Mr Clark said he was not concerned about reparation, but about justice, and had a simple message for Creighton.

"Grow-up before you kill someone."

- Otago Daily Times

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