A SHEFFIELD woman wanted in the USA over a fatal car crash took an overdose because she thought ‘death was preferable’ to life in an American jail, a court heard.
Richen Turner, aged 43, of Merton Lane, Wincobank, is facing extradition to the US where she is accused of causing a fatal road crash in Broward County, Florida, in October 2005, while over the drink-drive limit.
Ms Turner allegedly ran a red light before her car hit the side of another driven by Peter Cambra, who died of his injuries.
Last May a judge at Westminster City Magistrates’ Court sanctioned her extradition to the USA to stand trial and the ruling was later approved by the Home Secretary.
But the magistrate’s ruling came under attack in London’s High Court where Ms Turner’s lawyers said it would be ‘unjust and oppressive’ to send her back more than six years later.
The case first reached the High Court in January when her barrister, Ben Lloyd, told the court Ms Turner was a high suicide risk and had a history of acute depression.
He said Ms Turner had taken an overdose on July 11, while at home on bail.
Mr Lloyd said the overdose had left her in a state of ‘profound unconsciousness’, arguing it would be inhumane to extradite her because of her mental state.
He said Turner was now recuperating, although she is still in a ‘highly fragile state’.
The court heard she had told a doctor ‘if the only choice is death or extradition she would prefer to die’.
He said a doctor who’d examined Ms Turner concluded her overdose was a ‘serious attempt at taking her own life’.
He added: “There is no evidence that she was doing this in a conscious attempt to frustrate the proceedings”
After a short hearing, Lord Justice Aikens said the court would delay judgment in the case to consider all the medical evidence.
“We have not made our minds up one way or the other,” he said.
“That must be emphasised to Ms Turner and her family.”