Knopfler left in Dire Straits by woman's careless driving

A driver who left Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler with nine broken bones in a crash that could have ended his career is to be deported, it was revealed today.

A driver who left Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler with nine broken bones in a crash that could have ended his career is to be deported, it was revealed today.

Monica Beltran, 23, sent Mr Knopfler, 54, flying through the air when she collided with his 800cc Honda touring bike in March 2003.

Beltran, of Camberwell, South East London, did not check her mirrors or indicate when she suddenly turned right into a petrol station in Grosvenor Road, central London.

Mr Knopfler was overtaking but was driving in a “sensible and careful” manner, Marylebone Magistrates Court was told.

In finding her guilty of careless driving, District Judge Michael Snow spoke of his frustration that he could not fully punish her because she has already been sentenced to be deported on a false passport charge.

Beltran, who used a Spanish interpreter at today’s hearing, has already been sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for the passport charge and has an August release date. It is believed that she is from Ecuador.

Mr Snow told her: “In sentencing you I’m really handicapped by your situation.

“I cannot really pass any sort of meaningful sentence upon you. I cannot add to the terms of your imprisonment and any disqualification is largely irrelevant because you shall be deported at the end of your curren sentence.

“You are to have a £250 (€375) pound fine or one day prison sentence which will run concurrent to your sentence.”

He said that her licence is to be endorsed with six penalty points. There would be no order for costs because she did not have any means, and any compensation claim would be left to the civil court.

Mr Knopfler was unable to play the guitar for seven months and needed more than a year for physiotherapy after breaking a collar bone, shoulder and seven ribs.

The multi-millionaire musician was hurled into the air before landing on his back while his motorbike went skidding down the road.

Drivers stopped to help and he was taken by ambulance to St Thomas’s Hospital but even after a year of physiotherapy he still suffers restricted movement.

There was no application for the £395 (€593) costs of the two-day hearing as a civil claim has already been launched.

Mr Snow did not believe Beltran’s claims that she indicated, looked in her mirrors and slowed down as she turned right.

He said: “I am satisfied so that I am sure that the defendant is wrong in her recollection.

“I have no doubt that her turn was impulsive and she did not check her mirrors or signal and that she gave no consideration to the whereabouts or welfare of the vehicles around her.

“Her driving fell well below that of a reasonable, competent and prudent driver.”

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