Motorist Paula Barnes jailed for more than eight years for death crash that killed Royal Wootton Bassett teacher

Paula Barnes in custody after being tracked down in Holland

The Wright family. Diane is second from the right

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A woman who was behind the wheel in a car crash that killed a teacher has been jailed for eight years and five months this morning.

Paula Barnes appeared at Swindon Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty in November to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to surrender.

She had been on the run from police and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest in April 2011.

She was later found in Holland following a police investigation. Barnes, 45, of Aldbourne Road, Baydon, caused the death of 49-year-old teacher Diane Wright by driving dangerously.

Mother-of-two Mrs Wright, 49, died in the crash on an unclassified road, near Wanborough, on September 23, 2010.

Inspector Steve Cox, head of roads policing at Wiltshire Police, said he was delighted with the senrtence.

“We are pleased with today’s sentence as it reflects both the seriousness of these crimes and the anguish that Paula Barnes has put her victim’s family through," he said

“This case has been a long and complex one after Barnes tried to evade justice by fleeing to Holland where she hoped to remain undetected.

“The fact she was caught, arrested, extradited and has now been sentenced is testament to the hard work and dedication of the Wiltshire Police Serious Collision Investigation Team.

“Barnes was arrested after being released from hospital on November 4th 2010 following a two vehicle collision in Foxhill, Baydon, on September 23 2010.

“During this collision, the driver of the other vehicle involved, Diane Wright, sadly died from her injuries at the scene.

“Barnes was then bailed to attend court on April 15th 2011 but failed to show. Nothing was seen or heard from her again

“After an intensive search involving the Zephyr Regional Financial Investigation Team and the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Barnes was arrested in Holland on November 9 2012 and we were successful at an extradition hearing which led to her being brought back to the UK.

“Barnes has proved to be a callous and manipulative woman who thought she was above the law.

“We hope that today, Diane’s family can feel that justice has finally been served.”

The 49-year-old, who lived in Woodshaw, Wootton Bassett, was decsribed by her husband David, a sergeant with the Metropolitan Police in Hillingdon, as his best friend.

He said at the time: "She was a lovely wife and my best friend We, her family and friends, are absolutely devastated with Diane’s sudden death.

"We are all finding it difficult to come to terms with her unexpected death.

"Diane was always friendy and generous to everyone. She could not do enough for people. She is a wonderful wife, loving mother and a friend in a million. Words cannot describe the way we are feeling since her death.

"She will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved her."

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