HIGHAMS PARK: Finlay Woods' killer jailed for seven years

HIGHAMS PARK: Finlay Woods' killer jailed for seven years

Finlay Woods was killed in September

Finlay Woods was killed in September

First published in News

THE WOMAN who admitted causing the death of little Finlay Woods in a “moment of madness” has been sentenced to seven years in jail.

40-year-old Katie Gutierrez-Perez had taken a cocktail of wine, cider and sleeping pills, before careering down the road in her Toyota 4x4 and ploughing into the 15-month-old outside Selwyn Primary School in Highams Park, impaling his pram against a pillar.

Sentencing the mother-of-two, who had earlier pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving and driving without insurance, Judge Timothy King said she was "a disaster waiting to happen".

He told her: "Clearly you were hopelessly impaired. I am sure the family think no sentence would be enough. “All for a moment of madness.”

At Snaresbrook Crown Court, the court heard that Gutierrez-Perez, who had a history of alcohol problems and depression, drove away from her home in Selwyn Road knowing she was drunk and that her car had a flat-tyre, causing it to swing to the left.

Shortly before, the court heard, she had received a visit from an inspector who had noticed that her car was registered as an off-road vehicle, but was clearly being used on the road.

Fearful of her car being impounded, Gutierrez-Perez drove off, despite admitting to the inspector that she was drunk and being warned by him not to get behind the wheel.

In a matter of minutes, her car swerved down Cavandish Road at an estimated 30 to 40 miles per hour, squashing traffic cones and hitting a car carrying a mother and baby.

Witnesses described seeing her “staring straight ahead with a dazed expression”, while her car swerved from side to side.

She then crashed into Finlay outside the school, and continued to rev the engine despite, seemingly unaware that the pram was “impaled” against the pillar.

The tot’s mum and passer-bys eventually managed to release the heavy car from the pram, and he was airlifted to Whipps Cross Hospital, but later died.

An impact statement by the Finlay’s mum, 31-year-old Tina Woods, read to the court, described how she had kept the toddler’s cot made up since the day he died on September 18.

It also described how the family had been in a “living hell” since losing their precious Finlay and that the three other children had trouble sleeping.

Appearing in court, former café owner Gutierrez-Perez sobbed.

Her defence lawyer, Susan Rodham, told the court that Gutierrez-Perez had experienced a catastrophic week, after being assaulted by her husband of 18 years - who had left her - and discovering that her business had failed and her home was going to be re-posessed.

She claimed in mitigation that she had been having suicidal feelings that week and took a cocktail of drink and drugs, but decided to drive to hospital for treatment for the sake of her two children.

Sentencing Gutierrez-Perez to seven years in prison and disqualifiying her from driving for 10 years, Judge King said he had taken into consideration that she showed “genuine remorse”, had pleaded guilty immediately, and had written a letter of apology to Finlay’s family.

The tot’s devastated parents Tina and Roger Woods, 31 and 32, said after the sentencing: “To suffer the loss of someone is a terrible thing to endure. Our wonderful boy will never get the chance to experience the wonders of the world.

“No sentence will ever make up for his loss. In our society everybody is fond of making excuses but no mitigation could excuse such reckless and selfish behaviour.

“We hope that the woman who did this will never forget the pain and loss caused, because we know we never can. Every day is a living hell.”

Comments (11)

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10:48am Wed 7 Jan 09

Bert Small says...

Substantial sentence? Then cut in in half and that is what she gets for a baby's life.

Any bets it is going to be paltry?
Substantial sentence? Then cut in in half and that is what she gets for a baby's life. Any bets it is going to be paltry? Bert Small
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Gus Tovind says...

Seven years???!!! So that means she'll be out in two and bit. What a joke! Is that supposed to be a deterrent??? My heart goes out to the Woods family. Have they really received justice??
Seven years???!!! So that means she'll be out in two and bit. What a joke! Is that supposed to be a deterrent??? My heart goes out to the Woods family. Have they really received justice?? Gus Tovind
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Bert Small says...

Shortly before, the court heard, she had received a visit from an inspector who had noticed that her car was registered as an off-road vehicle, but was clearly being used on the road.

QUOTE 'Fearful of her car being impounded, Gutierrez-Perez drove off, despite admitting to the inspector that she was drunk and being warned by him not to get behind the wheel'.

What kind of INSPECTOR was this? Surely this man has a lot to answer for now?

Like I said earlier, I expected a paltry sentence. She will do about 3 years as she has been in for 6 months. That is the price of a baby's life these days.

Shortly before, the court heard, she had received a visit from an inspector who had noticed that her car was registered as an off-road vehicle, but was clearly being used on the road. QUOTE 'Fearful of her car being impounded, Gutierrez-Perez drove off, despite admitting to the inspector that she was drunk and being warned by him not to get behind the wheel'. What kind of INSPECTOR was this? Surely this man has a lot to answer for now? Like I said earlier, I expected a paltry sentence. She will do about 3 years as she has been in for 6 months. That is the price of a baby's life these days. Bert Small
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Capt Jack Sparrow says...

Bert there was absolutely nothing he could do. I 100% agree that there should be a zero tolerance for driving and alcohol though, but you must understand that this time, the blame FULLY lays with this vile female, and no-one else.
Bert there was absolutely nothing he could do. I 100% agree that there should be a zero tolerance for driving and alcohol though, but you must understand that this time, the blame FULLY lays with this vile female, and no-one else. Capt Jack Sparrow
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Walthamster says...

Why are people driving 4x4s (vehicle of choice for the inadequate) in London anyway? They're made for driving on country tracks, not city streets.

I read in one of the earlier reports that people were desperately trying to lift the car off the little boy's pram, but couldn't because of its huge weight. In some circumstances, that would make the difference between life and death.
Why are people driving 4x4s (vehicle of choice for the inadequate) in London anyway? They're made for driving on country tracks, not city streets. I read in one of the earlier reports that people were desperately trying to lift the car off the little boy's pram, but couldn't because of its huge weight. In some circumstances, that would make the difference between life and death. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

4:51pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Touchwood says...

With modern detection the use of capital punishment is the answer to society's problems. When I was young the killing of a young child was condemned even by the criminal fraternity. Now, with the prospect of lenient jail terms, killers of ALL varieties laugh at the law. If the prospect of dangling on the scaffold was before them I'm sure they'd think twice about their actions. This female deliberately
drove a large 4x4 vehicle whilst under the influence of alchohol and as a result a child died. That to me is MURDER!!
With modern detection the use of capital punishment is the answer to society's problems. When I was young the killing of a young child was condemned even by the criminal fraternity. Now, with the prospect of lenient jail terms, killers of ALL varieties laugh at the law. If the prospect of dangling on the scaffold was before them I'm sure they'd think twice about their actions. This female deliberately drove a large 4x4 vehicle whilst under the influence of alchohol and as a result a child died. That to me is MURDER!! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

5:12pm Wed 7 Jan 09

princess29 says...

dear little finlay no this was no justice for you sweet we all miss seeing your face everyday at school but at least no one like her can every hurt you again i hope she rots in her own hell one day until we all met again bye sweet
dear little finlay no this was no justice for you sweet we all miss seeing your face everyday at school but at least no one like her can every hurt you again i hope she rots in her own hell one day until we all met again bye sweet princess29
  • Score: 0

8:53pm Wed 7 Jan 09

inézc says...

The sentence is derisory but whatever happens nothing will ever bring this poor child back or provide his parents with comfort. I am contenting myself with the fact that women who kill children can be guaranteed to have a very hard time in prison. Rest in peace Finlay and all our prayers are with your parents
The sentence is derisory but whatever happens nothing will ever bring this poor child back or provide his parents with comfort. I am contenting myself with the fact that women who kill children can be guaranteed to have a very hard time in prison. Rest in peace Finlay and all our prayers are with your parents inézc
  • Score: 0

9:21pm Wed 7 Jan 09

Stowaway says...

I'm slightly concerned about this Inspector story as well, assuming that he hadn't gone round to inspect her drains, it would appear to me that it does have a huge baring on the final tragic outcome. "he warned her"???? and then what, made a hasty retreat back to the office to fill in the paperwork.
I'm slightly concerned about this Inspector story as well, assuming that he hadn't gone round to inspect her drains, it would appear to me that it does have a huge baring on the final tragic outcome. "he warned her"???? and then what, made a hasty retreat back to the office to fill in the paperwork. Stowaway
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Thu 8 Jan 09

C. H. Rist says...

Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.
Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone. C. H. Rist
  • Score: 0

11:26am Fri 9 Jan 09

SlimJim says...

There are always two side to a story. The side of Finlay Woods is not in dispute. It was a very bad thing that happened.
The other side is that bad things CAN happen to good people. The lady in question is not a bad person. Far from it. But she is obviously a troubled person who reached the end of her tether.
This is of no concern to the parents and there is no reason why it should be.
The headlines paint a picture that tells only some fo the facts. Sadly, the less than palatable ones. But this holier than thou attitude is not really worthy of a response.
The parents are entitled to feel bitter, angry, disposessed.
The driver was not of sound mind at teh time. It doesnt excuse anything but it should help to ease the pain knowing that is wasnt just arrogance.
I think the judge got it about right. There is little point if 15 years. Long enough to acknowledge the seriousness. And short enouhg to acknowledge the circumstances of the driver. She may well be out in three years but she will never be free of it. I imagine it will torment her for ever.
Do not misunderstand my comments, I am not defending her in any way. But lynch mob mentallity isnt the answer to anything.
There are always two side to a story. The side of Finlay Woods is not in dispute. It was a very bad thing that happened. The other side is that bad things CAN happen to good people. The lady in question is not a bad person. Far from it. But she is obviously a troubled person who reached the end of her tether. This is of no concern to the parents and there is no reason why it should be. The headlines paint a picture that tells only some fo the facts. Sadly, the less than palatable ones. But this holier than thou attitude is not really worthy of a response. The parents are entitled to feel bitter, angry, disposessed. The driver was not of sound mind at teh time. It doesnt excuse anything but it should help to ease the pain knowing that is wasnt just arrogance. I think the judge got it about right. There is little point if 15 years. Long enough to acknowledge the seriousness. And short enouhg to acknowledge the circumstances of the driver. She may well be out in three years but she will never be free of it. I imagine it will torment her for ever. Do not misunderstand my comments, I am not defending her in any way. But lynch mob mentallity isnt the answer to anything. SlimJim
  • Score: 0
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