Driver spared jail after doing three-point turn on A1 in north Northumberland

Report from Newcastle Crown Court
Report from Newcastle Crown Court

A man who did a three-point turn in his van on the A1 dual-carriageway in Northumberland causing a collision and leaving eight people injured has been spared jail.

Paul Murray was following his sat nav along a country road when he pulled onto the wrong side of the A1 near Newton on the Moor.
The 52-year-old had three passengers in his VW Caddy at the time - two of whom were sitting on the floor in the back of the van with no seat belts.
Two drivers, who did not see Murray until the last minute, collided with the van, which ended up on its side.
Murray, who intended to go south, was driving from Newton on the Moor towards the A1 when he pulled onto the outside lane of the north carriageway.
Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court today, said: "After a while, he noticed he had made a mistake and performed a three-point turn in the road. He was travelling south the wrong way in the northbound lane."
A female driver collided with the van and caused it to overturn before another male driver, who had three passengers in his car, collided with the van.
The collision left the three passengers in the van injured as well as the two drivers of the cars and the three additional passengers in the male driver's car.
The female driver, who was left with injuries to her chest and back, was unable to attend university where she was a student in her final year.
Tony Cornbery, defending, said: "The aftermath was horrendous, it is a blessing that the injuries weren't more serious than they are.
"He comes along a country lane that goes into a large carriageway and went the wrong way.
"It's one of those situations where he made a significant decision. This was a genuine momentary lapse."
Recorder Eric Elliot QC told Murray, of Edith Street, Consett, County Durham: "It almost beggars belief anyone would attempt to carry out such a manoeuvre.
"Eight people apart from yourself all sustained injuries. The injuries could have been fatal.
"This was a genuine momentary lapse of judgement.
"The mere mention of trying to do a three-point turn on the A1 will send shivers through anybody but I accept it was a momentary action."
Recorder Elliot sentenced Murray to nine months in prison suspended for two years and disqualified him from driving for 12 months. He also ordered him to do 200 hours' unpaid work.