A MAN who today admitted causing the death of a female passenger by dangerous driving was told he will be receiving an “inevitable” prison sentence in due course.

Stephen Matthew Smith was driving a BMW which lost control at high speed and collided with a tree on Middridge Road, near Newton Aycliffe, shortly after 6pm on Friday October 9, 2020.

Kayley Robinson, a passenger in the car, was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where she died from her injuries five days later.

The 34-year-old victim was described as, “a much-loved mam, daughter, little sister and auntie”, and, “one of a kind, who left a lasting impression on anyone she met”, in a family tribute subsequently issued via Durham Police.

Smith, who was also taken to James Cook University Hospital and treated for serious injuries after the collision, appeared for a plea hearing in the case at Durham Crown Court today (Wednesday July 6) in a wheelchair, by video link from his counsel’s chambers in Middlesbrough.

The 39-year-old defendant, of Scarth Walk, Stockton, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing Ms Robinson’s death by dangerous driving.

Tony Davis, representing Smith, said the guilty plea was submitted by his client based on a combination of speed, as cctv examined showed him driving at up to 90-miles per hour prior to the collision, and, “a bumpy road surface”.

Recorder Jamie Hill asked Mr Davis: “I know you’ll be advising him about the inevitability of a custodial sentence in this case?”

Mr Davis confirmed it but asked that a Probation Service report be prepared on his client’s background prior to sentence.

Recorder Hill agreed and added: “It will only go to the length of the sentence and to understand a little bit more about his thinking.”

Read more: Kayley Robinson: Tributes paid to mother who died in Aycliffe crash

Addressing Smith, Recorder Hill told him: “You will be given credit for pleading guilty at the first hearing here at the crown court.

“But, I’m sure you will have been advised, and must understand, that a custodial sentence for a case of this type will be inevitable.

“That report will simply be a factor in determining the length of that sentence.”

He granted Smith bail to appear for sentence on Friday September 23.

On that day he must attend at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, which has secure wheelchair facilities, to appear via video link to the sentencing hearing at the crown court in Durham.

Due to his guilty plea, Recorder Hill also imposed an interim driving disqualification on the defendant, the exact length of which will be confirmed at the sentencing hearing.

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