British 'drink-driver' accused of killing a 4-month-old baby in Lanzarote finally appears in court

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 19-05-2024
  • Lanzarote
  • Photo Credit: CW
British 'drink-driver' accused of killing a 4-month-old baby in Lanzarote finally appears in court

A British woman accused of drink-driving, resulting in a fatal crash that killed a four-month-old baby in Lanzarote, has finally appeared before a judge after a previous hearing was cancelled due to a panic attack.

Olivia Brown, aged 23, faced a closed hearing on Friday in Arrecife, and chose not to answer questions during the session. The court maintained her bail conditions, including a travel ban preventing her from leaving the Spanish territory including the Canary Islands.

The tragic incident occurred on March 11th, when Brown's Ford Fiesta mounted the pavement, hitting British mother Alex Chadkirk, aged 28, and her young baby daughter, Harper Ayton, in Playa Blanca. Despite paramedics' efforts, Harper died at the scene.

Harper's father, Timothy Ayton, aged 40, was critically injured and admitted to intensive care, along with Alex's mother, Andrea Chadkirk. Alex's father, Derek, suffered less severe injuries.

The family, from South Shields, in the northeast of England, were on holiday and returning to their villa when the accident happened. A Swedish mother and daughter were also injured in the crash, with the daughter being airlifted to a hospital in Gran Canaria due to the severity of her injuries.

Town hall officials indicated that Brown appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the crash. She experienced a panic attack on March 14th, delaying her initial court appearance. After being hospitalised, she was provisionally released, ordered to surrender her passport, and required to report to court twice a month.

Officials confirmed her court appearance on Friday, stating, "The person being investigated over the crash in Playa Blanca in Lanzarote on March 11th appeared at Arrecife Court of Instruction Number One. She invoked her right not to testify. The precautionary measures, including the obligation to sign on at court on the 1st and 15th of every month, withdrawal of her passport, and a ban on leaving Spain, were kept in place."

Brown remains under investigation for manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, as per Article 379.2 of the Spanish penal code. The victims are pressing charges, and further technical and forensic reports are pending.

Following the crash, a Yaiza Town Hall spokesperson confirmed that Brown tested positive for alcohol and drugs, but details regarding the exact amounts detected have not been disclosed. Brown, who moved to Lanzarote as a child and is believed to be from Glasgow, was reportedly on her way to work at a local hotel when the crash happened.

She claimed the car's steering had malfunctioned, and investigations are ongoing to determine if mechanical failure played any role. Brown was not formally arrested or held in custody following the incident.

The British family were returning from a supermarket to their holiday villa when they were struck. Harper Ayton's paternal grandparents have since flown to Lanzarote after receiving the devastating news.