The sister of a British soldier killed in Afghanistan wept in court as she told a jury her sister was a risk-taking driver and she was not responsible for her death.
Rosie-Ann Stone, 21, cried as she told a jury she lost her brother Gregg Stone nine months before a tragic crash where she is accused of killing her sister Jennie Stone, 27.
She said it meant she now had just three brothers and no big sister who was her “best friend”.
Ms Stone, who admitted to police was still grieving, is accused of failing to look over her shoulder and pulling out of a traffic queue in her grey Vauxhall Astra sending Jennie Stone’s blue Peugeot car behind her crashing into a tree on the A165 at Fraisthorpe near Bridlington on February 18.
Repeatedly fighting back tears in the witness box she said: “I am one of four brothers and a sister. There are just four of us now. Greg was killed in Afghanistan in June 2012. Some of family in court are wearing Gregg’s jacket because it was his favourite. When he died we were each given one.”
Ms Stone described her close relationship with her sister as part of a team: “Jenny was quite a bit older. She was like a mum to me. When she got older we were inseparable.
“We shared a room at home. She moved down to London. When she fell pregnant she came back to East Yorkshire. I cared for her son Charlie, always have. My relationship on the day of the accident was the same as it always has been - incredibly close, fantastic.”
She said they had been celebrating the night before the accident having helped her sister move to a flat near hers in Bridlington.
Ms Stone, a relief manager for William Hills, said she had stayed at her sister’s flat overnight having had half a glass of wine to toast the move. She said on the morning of February 18 she was helping her sister by taking her and her son back to Skipsea. She dropped Jennie off to pick up her car and took Charlie to Skipsea Primary School.
“We nipped in to the house to look around to see if she had left anything,” said Ms Stone. “Jennie picked up little bits. I told Jenny I was going back to Bridlington and I would meet her before we went on a shopping trip to Scarborough.
“She said she had stuff to sort in her car and she said get off. My impression was she had quite a bit to do in the car. I was going to go home and get ready and meet Jennie outside her house. I did not expect her to follow me. I had no idea she was following me.”
Ms Stone said she had passed roadworks and was following a DAF truck: “There were a couple of cars in front of me and a truck. There was a long line of traffic. I was doing about 45mph. I had a clear view of on-coming traffic. I checked my mirrors. I put my signal on and began to move out into the middle of the road to start my over take. I was half way passed the truck around the centre when I was struck by the Peugeot. At the moment of impact my car was not pushed at all.”
Ms Stone wept as she said “I saw blue to the right and I saw Jennie driving. I saw her blonde hair. I twigged almost instantly. Jennie did not turn and look at me. Not at all. Jennie’s car was moving faster than mine. The two cars struck. Jennie’s car instantly shot across the road. I thought the truck was going to hit her. I saw Jennies car go onto the grass and strike the tree.”
The jury has been told Ms Stone ran to the tree as a lorry driver said to her: “That was a big one!” She replied: “That was my sister!” and began to cry. She became hysterical shouting and running to anyone. She shouted: “Jennie, Jennie what have you done it for? I didn’t see you! What have you done it for?”
Ms Stone told the jury: “I ran back down towards the tree. I wanted to get to Jennie. I saw her in the car. I was screaming. I tried to go near her. I wanted to be with Jennie. Nobody was with her she was on her own.”
The court heard Ms Stone had told police Jennie was a fast driver. She said: “I was in her car when she had an accident and she was in the wrong. She held her hand up. It was a big risk and she frightened me when she did it. In my opinion she was a very quick driver and did take a lot of risks. I never felt comfortable with it. I refused to let her driver my car. Other people have made comments to my family, friends and parents. She has always been a sort of speed demon.”
Cross-examining Crown barrister Jonathan Sharp said: “I am going to suggest it would be quiet wrong to suggest her previous driving history is relevant to her speed on this day. Given the loss of your brother last June if there was any suggestion that it could happen again you would not have got in her car? Ms Stone said she would. She said: “If it was risky I would tell her off.”