A FORMER councillor who was driving at 127mph when she was involved in a fatal crash has been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

Jill Higgins, from Lower Stretton, was 'rushing home to deliver a message from God' before her vehicle flipped and killed another driver.

But this afternoon, Wednesday, the 54-year-old was acquitted ‘by reason of insanity’ at the Old Bailey.

The court had heard that the ex-Stretton parish councillor smashed her Range Rover Evoque into the back of another car at high speed on the M25 on the night of September 23 2017.

Her vehicle flipped over the Ford Focus and collided with Daniel Dayalan's Vauxhall Corsa – which then careered into a concrete wall.

Mr Dayalan, 60, was pronounced dead at the scene near to junction 24 of the motorway in Hertfordshire.

Warrington Guardian:

Daniel Dayalan

Ms Higgins, of Common Lane, was signed off from her work as a personal assistant for O2's communications manager following the death of her husband in March the same year.

She went on to form a new relationship with a neighbour, but the pair had split up shortly before the horror crash.

The defendant was taken to hospital after receiving treatment from paramedics at the roadside, and was sectioned two days later.

Two experts concluded that she had been suffering from ‘an episode of mania with psychotic symptoms’ at the time of the crash.

Prior to the incident, other motorists were forced to take evasive action due to the erratic driving of Ms Higgins – who appeared to be ‘out of control’.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Stephen Barlow told the jury: "She believed she had a message to spread the word of God, and that God was using her to bring joy to others – and there was reference to being pregnant with God's triplets.

"'I have never ever quite read an interview like that, one might almost describe this as religious ecstasy.

"She believes she is on a mission from God to get home to deliver this message to her family."

Warrington Guardian:

Higgins pictured during a protest to protect Stretton's greenbelt in 2012

Dr Barlow described Ms Higgins' behaviour on the wards as being 'elated and erratic', while she often encroached on other patients' privacy.

She had also been found wandering naked around the hospital performing sex acts.

After the crash, Ms Higgins told police: "I saw all these lights flashing behind me – I wondered whether it might be God.

"It was just like a dream, it was almost like I was not there.

"People were flashing me, and it was like a dream.

"I am not a speeder, I would never go anywhere near 100mph – I was just putting my foot down and I have no idea why.

"I was trying to get home, but obviously I wasn't going home because I was somewhere different."

Mr Dayalan's 55-year-old wife Niromi was in the passenger seat of the car and suffered serious injuries during the incident.

Ms Higgins was also cleared of causing her serious injury by dangerous driving today, with the jury deliberating for an hour-and-a-half before delivering not guilty verdicts.

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Following her acquittal, defence barrister Andrew Nuttall told the court that his client was now ‘much better’.

He said: “She has been rather traumatised by what took place at that time and there is no doubt that she feels a responsibility, although she did not know what she was doing at the time.”

Judge Richard Marks described the case as being ‘unusual and extremely sad’, and added: “It has been obviously tragic in the extreme for the Dayalan family.

“Of course, nothing that I can say or do can undo what has happened or can bring him back.

“It's just sadly a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Members of Mr Dayalan's family reacted angrily at the judge's remarks.

From the public gallery, one family member said: “Don't insult us please – he did nothing wrong.”