Grandma killed by teenage driver

Roop Pounj, killed in a car crash in Doncaster. in August 2010 on the A19 near Owston
Roop Pounj, killed in a car crash in Doncaster. in August 2010 on the A19 near Owston
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A TEENAGER who passed his driving test only four months earlier killed a grandmother when he overtook a van on a blind bend near Doncaster.

The daughters of Roop Pounj, who was 63, were present at Doncaster Crown Court to see 18-year-old Matthew Nunn locked up for three years in a young offenders’ institution.

Their father, Shiel, who was driving the van, is now disabled because of the injuries he sustained in the pile-up on the A19 near Owston last August and did not attend the hearing.

Mr and Mrs Pounj were described as popular members of the community in Sunnyfields, where they ran the local newsagent’s shop for 25 years until deciding to retire.

They were on their way to the Norton home of daughter Shivani Pounj-Pachlingar to see their baby grandson when the crash happened.

Mr Pounj, aged 64, was driving their Mercedes van when a Ford Transit van being driven by Nunn, who was only 17 at the time, tried to overtake him and smashed head-on into a car driven by Adwick woman Lucinda Slack.

Mrs Slack’s car was forced off the road and ended up on its roof. She escaped with bruising although she later said she thought she was going to die.

Nunn’s out-of-control van then knocked the Mercedes off the road and into a tree where Mrs Pounj suffered fatal head and neck injuries.

Her husband sustained six broken ribs, a double fracture of the left thigh, and his left wrist was smashed.

He needed operations to both limbs and now suffers from arthritis because of his injuries.

Nunn, whose address was the Hacienda caravan park, Kirkhouse Green, between Moss and Fishlake, pleaded guilty to causing Mrs Pounj’s death by dangerous driving.

He was not seriously injured in the crash.

Judge Jacqueline Davies said: “Whatever sentence is imposed on you will not make up for the loss to the family that will continue.”

Prosecutor Carl Fitch said a driver following Mr Pounj’s van feared there might be an accident when Nunn overtook her at around 70mph.

She made space for him to move in, but the teenager carried on with the dangerous manouvre and hit Ms Slack’s Ford Ka.

The youth had permission to drive his father’s van, was fully insured and had not been drinking on that day.

His solicitor, Rachim Singh, said Nunn was realistic enough to expect a custodial sentence and admitted his dangerous driving at the first opportunity.

“There has been no attempt to apportion blame to others. It was down to his bad, erratic driving and no-one else was at fault.

“He regrets bitterly what he has done. It has caused him a great deal of distress with nightmares and flashbacks.”

Nunn, who has no previous convictions, was banned for five years.

Daughter Shivani said the three-year sentence was about what they expected.

“Whatever he received our loss is still the same.

“My mum was a very much-loved member of the community in Sunnyfields and in Hemsworth, where they ran another shop.

“All her grandchildren will miss out on growing up with her because she was just such a lovely person.

“At first my father couldn’t cope because of his injuries but he has a very supportive family.

“They had been married 40 years and were true soulmates.”