Nurse Ophelia Oka-Koi sentenced for causing death by careless driving in East Barnet

Nurse sentenced for causing death by careless driving

Ms Oka-Koi arriving in court for her trial earlier this year

Christie McHugh pictured with her husband, John

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A mental health nurse who drove away from a row with a drunken woman on her car bonnet will serve six months in jail.

Ophelia Oka-Koi, of Galdana Avenue, High Barnet, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving following the death of Christie McHugh in East Barnet Road on March 4 last year.

The 52-year-old was sentenced to 12 months in jail but will serve half in custody before being released on licence. She has also been banned from driving for two years.

Mrs Oka-Koi had parked in the car park of the Lord Kitchener pub to go to the nearby Sainsbury’s, but when she returned Mrs McHugh’s husband, John told her she should not have parked there.

Mr and Mrs McHugh, who were both drunk after having been in the pub with their children, struggled to put their baby’s car seat in as their rear doors were blocked by Okai-Koi's Vauxhall Insignia.

Witnesses described a heated argument in which Mr and Mrs McHugh kicked and punched Ms Oka-Koi's car before Mrs McHugh got onto the bonnet and began bouncing on it.

She then drove off - but Mrs McHugh, who had been drinking, was flung from the car onto a belisha beacon and died instantly.

Harrow Crown Court heard today how Ms Oka-Koi has since been disqualified from her job as a mental health nurse pending an inquiry, and has been forced to rent out her house to pay the mortgage.

Judge Kaul said that due to the “unusual” circumstances of the case, she would pass the “shortest sentence possible”.

She said: “You were scared and frightened in what had become a hostile environment. You panicked. You took a terrible decision – you bolted.

“You didn’t stop but continued down the road and drove away, you didn’t realise she had been so seriously injured.

“I accept the hostile environment put you under immense pressure but if a person is lying on your bonnet you shouldn’t go forward at all."

The jury recorded a unanimous verdict after a week-long trial at Harrow Crown Court earlier this year.

Ms Oka-Koi, a church-goer who has undertaken charity work in Ghana, was also found not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

Judge Kaul added: “The aggravating feature here is that you failed to stop, even though you knew she had fallen off the bonnet.”

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:09pm Fri 18 Jul 14

barnet123 says...

Six months, you've gotta be f**king kidding me
Six months, you've gotta be f**king kidding me barnet123
  • Score: -14

9:38am Sat 19 Jul 14

NorthernChadwick says...

The woman and her husband were drunk, about to drive (with a child) and were assaulting Ophelia Okai-Koi's car.

The woman who died was jumping up and down on the bonnet and by the looks of her in the photos this must have been terrifying.

I'm not surprised the driver panicked. You might too. She has my absolute sympathy.

6 months too long!
The woman and her husband were drunk, about to drive (with a child) and were assaulting Ophelia Okai-Koi's car. The woman who died was jumping up and down on the bonnet and by the looks of her in the photos this must have been terrifying. I'm not surprised the driver panicked. You might too. She has my absolute sympathy. 6 months too long! NorthernChadwick
  • Score: 24

7:56am Sun 20 Jul 14

NoToMob Member says...

This is such a tragic story. Two families devastated by alcohol.
This is such a tragic story. Two families devastated by alcohol. NoToMob Member
  • Score: 4

10:30am Tue 22 Jul 14

coady says...

Mr and Mrs Mchugh should have mind their own buisness
Mr and Mrs Mchugh should have mind their own buisness coady
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Barnetman says...

Should not have been sent to prison at all
Should not have been sent to prison at all Barnetman
  • Score: 1

7:01pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Barnetman says...

NoToMob Member wrote:
This is such a tragic story. Two families devastated by alcohol.
I'm not sure if alcohol is too blame
[quote][p][bold]NoToMob Member[/bold] wrote: This is such a tragic story. Two families devastated by alcohol.[/p][/quote]I'm not sure if alcohol is too blame Barnetman
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree