Woman, 24, admits killing proud NHS worker in hit and run

By Lauren Wise

A driver has admitted killing a beloved NHS worker in a hit and run.

Lucy Ashton admitted causing death by careless driving of Jennifer Dowd and failing to stop at the scene of the crash during an appearance at Liverpool Crown Court.

The 24-year-old was driving a Ford Focus on Lunt Road in Sefton Village when she collided with Jennie, an NHS worker who was riding her bicycle.

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Jennie was rushed to hospital after the crash, which took place near the Punchbowl pub, at 8.45am on September 27 last year.

She was taken to Aintree University Hospital and later transferred to the Walton Centre but died nine days following the crash.

Ashton, of Lunt Road, appeared at court on Tuesday, where she pleaded guilty to both counts put to her before Judge David Aubrey, QC.

The case was adjourned until October 5 when Ashton will appear for sentence and was bailed until that date.

In a moving tribute, Jennie's family, including her dad, Bootle MP Peter Dowd, said "she made an indelible impression on everyone she met".

They said the beloved wife and daughter was a "on a bright career path in the NHS" and "fought vociferously for equality and fair representation in many fields".

Jennie was working as a senior project manager at the Royal Liverpool Hospital at the time of her death, and colleagues said she "always put people and patients at the centre of all her work".

Her family said: "During the coronavirus pandemic lockdown earlier in the year, Jennie was proud to be part of a team that rolled out a testing programme for homeless people in Merseyside which led to over 60 people being put on treatment plans for HIV and Hepatitis C."

They added: "Jennie loved the outdoors and spent as much time as she could with her young nieces."

Jennie's godson, Finley Nichols, began raising money in her name in July after "finding it quite hard to grieve".

Jennie Dowd with godson Finlay Nichols (Rebecca Nichols)

Finley was growing his hair, at one point down to his waist, before getting the chop and sending the hair to the Little Princess Trust, donating money to The Walton Centre.

His mum, Rebecca Nichols, said: "He knows she would be really proud of him.

"He's happy to know he will be helping people that are in Jennie's situation and helping people that were in the position that we were in when Jennie was in there."

On the fundraising page Rebecca wrote: "Finley misses his Auntie Jen very much and wanted to make sure that he did something special to remember her."

You can donate to the fundraising page here.

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