Hatfield killer truck driver avoids jail term
A TRAVELLER who killed a motorist in a head-on crash when his tipper truck crossed double white lines has avoided jail.
Michael Holmes drove for at least 45 metres on the wrong side of the A1000 Great North Road at Swanley Way before he hit a Citroen C5 travelling in the opposite direction.
The Citroen driver, James Crossley, 69, a retired engineer from Broxbourne, was seriously injured and died 17 days later.
Holmes, of the Holwell caravan site off the A414, Hatfield, admitted causing death by careless driving in the crash at 11.15am on Tuesday, August 25 last year.
The 23-year-old appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court on Monday.
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Prosecutor Isabel Delamere said Holmes, who suffered a broken arm and broken ribs, told the police he had no recollection after he passed a set of traffic lights.
At the moment of impact, Holmes was travelling at 36mph and Mr Crossley at 37mph. The speed limit on the road is 50mph.
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The court heard Holmes had been banned from driving for six months in 2006 after totting up 12 penalty points.
He had a further three points on his licence in June 2008 for driving while using a mobile phone.
Despite no evidence of using a phone on this occasion, defence barrister Charles Judge said Holmes must have been distracted by something.
Mr Judge added Holmes “bitterly regrets what happened and wishes to express his sorrow to the family”.
The court was told the death had a devastating effect on wife Pauline Crossley and son Andrew. His other son Michael, died aged 20.
Judge Andrew Bright QC said no sentence could make the family feel justice had been done – the maximum being 36 weeks in jail.
Passing a 24-week prison term, suspended for 18 months, he told Holmes: “Locking you up for a few weeks is not going to help anyone.”
The judge also ordered Holmes to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and banned him from driving for 12 months, ordering him to take a driving retest. He must pay �250 prosecution costs.