Delivery driver caused fatal M1 crash

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A delivery driver has been spared jail after a court heard how he caused a fatal crash by failing to react when a car stopped in a busy motorway lane.

Robert Richardson, 64, died after William Brakewell ploughed into the back of his car during the incident on the M1 northbound carriageway on October 22, 2013.

Leeds Crown Court heard Mr Richardson, from Rotherham, was driving his partner Christine Thornton to her home near Leeds when his car lost power near to Lofthouse interchange.

Richard Walters, prosecuting, said Mr Richardson’s vehicle had gone into “limp mode” due to a fault with the vehicle and he was attempting to restart the car when Brakewell’s van struck it from behind.

Mr Richardson died at the scene and Mrs Thornton and Brakewell needed hospital treatment after the collision.

Mr Walters told the court Brakewell would have had between four and six seconds to react and overtake the vehicle but carried on in the same lane. The prosecutor said: “Even allowing for the limited time available, he could have and should have taken appropriate action. The Crown say the action he took was too little, too late.”

Brakewell, of Kettlethorpe Road, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving. Joseph Hart, mitigating, said the father-of-three was “sorry and devastated” over Mr Richardson’s death and pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

Brakewell was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and disqualified from driving for two years. Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: “His death is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life because of your careless driving.”

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