Fatal Eltham New Year's Day crash driver appeals jail term
PUBLISHED: 13:57 13 August 2010
A disabled woman who caused her heavily pregnant stepdaughter's death after crashing into a tree launched an appeal against her jail term.
Ceyda Ozkan, 33, crashed her car in Well Hall Road, Eltham, during the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009, killing 21-year-old Filiz Ozkan and her unborn baby.
The stepmother of St Germans Road, Forest Hill, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Woolwich Crown Court on February 19 after she admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
Lawyers acting for Ozkan, who has been confined to a wheelchair since before the accident, urged top judges on Tuesday at London’s Criminal Appeal Court to reduce her sentence, saying prison life was “more onerous” for her because of her condition.
The court heard she is unable to participate in prison life as fully as other inmates because she can not work or access education and has to use a different gym to everyone else.
Her lawyers said her physiotherapy sessions have been reduced from three-a-week to one and the facilities available in Holloway Prison in North London, where she is currently being held, are “simply not capable” of providing the care she needs.
However, they said she wants to remain there so her children can visit regularly. The court heard her children may have to move to Turkey with their father, who is caring for them, as his current wife is only here on a visitor’s visa.
The fatal crash happened at about 1.40am as Ozkan was driving the car containing her stepdaughter and five other passengers.
The court heard there was a “significant amount” of alcohol involved and another passenger had shouted a warning to Ozkan shortly before the collision.
Filiz Ozkan, who was seven-and-a-half months’ pregnant, died and another passenger was critically injured in the crash. Ozkan was also seriously injured.
Her lawyers argued her jail term was too long because the Crown Court judge didn’t take enough account of her relationship to Filiz, her own injury, or her pre-existing disabilities.
Lord Justice Laws, sitting with Mr Justice Christopher Clarke and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, told the court he will make a decision after seeing a report on Ozkan from Holloway Prison.
The judge is expected to give his ruling tomorrow.