A WOMAN sped at 70mph in a 30mph zone because she wanted to provide emotional support for her grief-stricken partner whose mother was found dead, a court has heard.

Amber Blake, of Sant Road, Elsenham, drove more than twice the legal speed limit in Coggeshall Road in January last year.

Though Blake, 42, admitted the offence, she appeared in Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday where her defence argued exceptional circumstances caused her to drive at excessive speed.

Appearing in the witness box, Blake was cross-examined about the events leading up to the offence.

The court heard how Blake’s partner, Claire Hardy, had been told her mother was unwell and was not responding to phone calls and text messages.

Miss Hardy alerted the emergency services and made her way to her mother’s flat in Braintree; as she entered the flat, she received a phone call from Blake who was asking if she was OK.

When Hardy found her mother unresponsive, she let out a scream, prompting Blake – who was on the other end of the phone – to rush to Braintree in her Audi.

The court heard how Blake drove within the speed limit until she was in Coggeshall Road, where she received a phone call from Miss Hardy.

Miss Hardy told Blake her mother had died, and Blake then sped at 70mph so she could support her partner.

Blake’s defence argued this constituted exceptional circumstances, but Lorraine Webb, prosecuting, said Blake’s understanding that her mother-in-law was dead should have caused her to slow down, not speed up.

She said: “Where is the emergency in terms of an actual definition?

“There isn’t one.

“The emergency services are there, and if there is a problem, they are there to deal with the trauma of the loved one at the scene.

“I’m sure many of us have been in that situation, and when that call comes in that someone has died, you come off the gas.”

Concluding the case, deputy district judge Warner said: “Whilst it may have been traumatic what happened on that day, it does not amount to a special reason in law.

“I will sentence you as the law requires.”

Blake was sentenced to a 35-day driving ban and fine of £290.