A beautician caused the death of her mentally handicapped sister when she fell asleep at the wheel of her car and crashed into an on-coming vehicle on Birmingham's Aston Expressway.

Sharon Forrester had been driving around the city after getting off a transatlantic flight the same day when the accident happened, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Forrester (43) of Eagle Gardens, Erdington, was fined £250 and had her licence endorsed with eight penalty points by Judge Alistair McCreath after admitting careless driving.

The judge described Forrester as an "utterly decent and exceptionally caring woman" and said her sister's death, which she caused but never intended, was a grievous blow. He went on: "I accept when you set out on that fateful journey you had no particular indication it was unsafe for you to drive."

Phil Bown, prosecuting, said Forrester was the carer for her sister, Stephanie Turpin, aged 43. They had been in Washington seeking treatment for a medical condition suffered by Forrester's partner.

They flew at night and landed at Heathrow at 7.30am on February 18 last year before travelling to Birmingham. Mr Bown said during the day Forrester made a number of journeys in her Renault Clio and at 8.15pm she was trave lling along the Aston Expressway to her sister's home in Ladywood to pick up some insulin.

She overtook another vehicle but continued to accelerate across the road at an angle, causing vehicles in the other carriageway to take avoiding action before colliding with another car at 60mph.

Mr Bown said Forrester made no attempt to brake and was probably "out of it" for less than a second.

The other driver suffered a broken arm and minor injuries but Forrester's sister was left trapped in the wreckage and died from multiple injuries.

Graham Henson, defending, said the defendant was the sole carer of her sister following the death of their mother.