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Man, 29, jailed for causing death of nurse in collision

Custody image of Sean Coates

A 29-year-old man has been jailed for more than six months after causing the death of an ‘inspirational’ nurse.

Sean Coates, of Alcove Road, Bristol, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving in an incident which killed 52-year-old Stacey Steer.

He was sentenced yesterday (Monday 19 December) at Taunton Crown Court and was handed 26 weeks in prison.

The court heard how, on Sunday 30 May last year, Stacey had been travelling with her husband on his motorcycle as a pillion passenger.

Coates had been driving his car along the A39 at Holford when he pulled out to overtake a slow-moving vehicle and failed to see the motorcycle had already started overtaking the traffic.

The court was told how the defendant had pulled out and collided with the motorbike, knocking both passengers off the bike.

Coates made no attempt to stop or call the emergency services and left the scene.

Officers conducted a search for Coates’ car, which was located. It was discovered he had attempted to clean the car with baby wipes.

Stacey was airlifted to hospital where she sadly later died.

Stacey Steer

Stacey’s husband, Carl Steer, pays tribute to his late wife. He said:

“Stacey was the very core of our family, she held a place in all our hearts that I cannot describe in words. If you could have met her, you would have liked her, Stacey was that sort of person.

“Stacey spent her life dedicated to her family and her work as an intensive care nurse, never thinking of herself, always others.

“Through her gift of organ donation other people and their families have been given fresh hope. Even after her passing, she would still be saving lives, exactly what Stacey would have wanted. 

“The worst part is not that we have lost Stacey, she was part of our lives and we will always be grateful, but Stacey will never hold our grandson, and he will never get to be loved by such a wonderful person.

“For her life to be taken away so senselessly is only compounded by the complete disregard Mr Coates had for his actions, by not only fleeing the scene, but by making every effort to save himself from justice with no thought of the lives he had destroyed.

“There will never be a sentence long enough in our eyes for what he has done. Hopefully others will see the devastation caused to our family and friends as deterrent to driving carelessly, and if one life is saved, then at least some good can come of this tragedy.

“Our family would like to thank all the efforts of Avon and Somerset Police, for the work they have done bringing Mr Coates to justice, and all the help and support they have given us.

“Stacey will never be forgotten, and we will do all in our power to honour her memory.”

Along with his prison sentence, Coates has been disqualified from driving for two years and 10 weeks.

Speaking to Coates at the sentencing, His Honourable Judge Cook described the act of failing to stop as ‘cruel’ to the family. He added: “Your actions showed a complete desolation of the family’s life. A basic sense of compassion and empathy should have compelled you to stop at the scene.

“The aggravating factors of this case is not the manner of your driving, but your actions afterwards.”

Forensic Collision Investigation Lead, Andy Roebuck, said: “This was a tragic incident which cost Stacey her life. Our thoughts have been and remain with Carl and his family in this difficult time.

“The investigation brought numerous officers and staff together, who worked tirelessly in securing this prosecution. The action of Coates is beyond comprehension, not only with his manner of driving, but his subsequent attempts to protect himself from being brought to justice.

“Thankfully the swift actions of those attending officers found Coates and his Audi.

“While this sentence will not bring Stacey back, we hope it will provide her family with some justice and closure as they prepare to move forward without her.”