Parents challenge CPS decision to drop case against driver accused of causing death of Skegness university student

The parents of a student who died on only her second journey to university have challenged a CPS decision to offer no evidence against the driver accused of causing her death.

Hope Starsmore died in a collision in October 2020.
Hope Starsmore died in a collision in October 2020.

Family and friends of Hope Starsmore, 20, today (Monday) attended a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court after the Crown Prosecution Service gave notice that they intended to drop the prosecution.

Hope, from Skegness, was making only her second trip to Nottingham Trent University when her Toyota Yaris was involved in a collision with a Ford Focus.

Rebecca Porter, 33, also from Skegness, was charged with causing Hope's death by dangerous driving and was due to stand trial next April.

However the Crown Prosecution Service met with Hope's family last week and said they intended to offer no evidence against Porter.

Porter's case was listed at Lincoln Crown Court today (Mon) for the Crown Prosecution Service to offer no evidence.

However Hope's parents, Pete and Helen Starsmore, submitted a letter to the court stating they wished to apply for a Judicial Review of the Crown Prosecution Service decision.

After being given a short adjournment to consider their position, prosecution barrister Michael Cranmer-Brown said Hope's family were entitled to a "victim's right to review" the Crown Prosecution Service decision to offer no evidence.

This will take four weeks.

Mr Cranmer-Brown told the court that if the current Crown Prosecution Service decision remained unchanged then Hope's family could then apply for a Judicial Review by 16 January next year.

Lisa Hardy, defending Porter, urged matters to be concluded as quickly as possible.

Miss Hardy said: "Miss Porter and her family have been put under considerable strain by these proceedings."

Judge Simon Hirst adjourned the case for a further hearing at Lincoln Crown Court on 20 January.

The Judge granted Porter unconditional bail and told her: "The prosecution are going to carry out a review of their decision to offer no evidence.

"That will take place by 12 December.

"The case will next be listed on 20 January.

"On that date the court will be informed of the prosecution review, and if the family want to apply for a Judicial Review."

The Judge added: "I am very, very keen that this case is resolved by the Spring of next year."

Hope's mother, Helen Starsmore, 47, said afterwards: "We aren't going to stop fighting for Hope now. If we hadn't submitted our letter then the case would have been dropped last week."

Pete Starsmore, 46, Hope's father, said the family would pursue a Judicial Review if the CPS decision remained unchanged.

Mr Starsmore added: "We have lost everything. We won't give up."

Porter, of Cottesmore Close, Skegness, has previously pleaded not guilty to causing the death of Hope Starsmore on October 7, 2020 by dangerous driving on the A158 at Burgh le Marsh, near Skegness.

Lincolnshire Police said the collision was reported at 8.16am and involved a Toyota Yaris and a Ford Focus.

Hope died in hospital eight days after the crash despite multiple operations.