Leeds family's agony as devoted father dies after road tragedy

The family of a popular father of two have spoken of their devastation at losing a devoted 'father, brother and son' as the driver who caused his death was given a suspended prison sentence.

Monday, 30th May 2016, 4:00 am
Updated Monday, 30th May 2016, 6:13 pm
David Davies

David Davies, 35, died two months after the collision when he suffered a blood clot as a result of the horror crash which had left him with life changing injuries.

A court heard how Mr Davies was thrown from his motorbike after David Powell pulled out of traffic and did a U-turn without warning into his path

The collision happened on May 21, 2014 near to the entrance of the of the Arla food depot on Pontefract Road, Hunslet, Leeds.

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David Davies

Mr Davies suffered life changing injuries to his hip and pelvis and underwent major surgery.

Leeds Crown Court heard that it was not initially believed that his injuries were life threatening but complications developed.

He suffered a blood clot which travelled to his heart and he died on July 18, 2014 surrounded by his relatives.

Powell, of Parnaby Avenue, Hunslet, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

David Davies

The court heard Powell was arrested after the collision, which happened around 4pm. He said he had been in the car with his wife on their way to see a tenant at a property they owned. Powell said he decided to drive into the Arla depot as he wanted to enquire about a job for his son.

Richard Walters, prosecuting, said: “It is the Crown’s case that the defendant either did not check his mirrors or simply did not see him.”

Philip Holden, mitigating, said Powell was full of remorse for what had happened.

He said: “He has been very tearful from the outset about the consequences of his actions.”

Describing the fatal incident, Mr Holden said: “It was a momentary lapse by an experienced driver and a responsible man who is absolutely broken by his actions and the consequences of his actions.”

Powell was given a six month sentence, suspended for two years, and was disqualified from driving for six years. He was also ordered to pay £1,500 court costs.

Judge James Spencer, QC, said: “You are 64 and you have driven for 46 years and nothing like this has ever happened.

“But this is a serious case because someone has been killed and you are responsible for that. “Either you did not look, or you did not look properly enough before turning in to the path of this motorcyclist.

“And if you did look, as you claimed, and did not see, then that is alarming.

“It seems to me that the only positive step I can take is to disqualify you from driving for six years. By then you will be 70 and in re-applying for your licence you will have to satisfy those authorities that you are fit to drive. It almost seems paltry what the court can do.

“The court is restrained by statute and the sentencing guidelines.”

A heartbreaking statement was read to the court describing the torment felt by Mr Davies’s loved ones.

Mr Davies’s sister Helena Sales read a victim statement to the court on behalf of her father, David Davies senior.

The court heard the 35-year-old chef, from Rothwell, was separated from his partner and was returning from spending the day looking after his four-year-old daughter Charlotte at the time of the collision.

Mr Davies also had another daughter, Maria, who lives in Cuba.

At the time of the tragedy he was saving for a trip to take Charlotte to go see her sister.

Ms Sales said: “He simply loved being a father.

“He would burst with pride when talking about his two adored daughters.

“He treasured every moment with them.

“David had learned Spanish and cherished his calls to hear updates of Maria’s day.

“He was also teaching his younger daughter, Charlotte, Spanish in anticipation of the sisters finally meeting each other that summer.”

Describing the day of the collision, Ms Sales said: “That day represented a thoughtful, considered routine of a devoted father and it seems especially unfair that he suffered a fatal injury simply making his way home from looking after his daughter.”

The court heard how Mr Davies suffered following the collision and his recovery was slow and painful.

Ms Sales said: “His dearest aim was for his daughters to get to know each other. It was simply heartbreaking to see David accept that this would not happen.

“In the weeks following the accident David discussed the collision...at great length.

“He was never in any doubt about the culpability of the car driver and it was his wish that the driver be held accountable for his actions.

“In the years to come, as David’s two young daughters grow up without him, we need to be assured as a family that we can tell them all the facts of the collision and the consequences that followed.”

Despite attempts to resuscitate him, he died at Pinderfields Hospital surrounded by his loved ones.

Ms Sales said: “The agony of waiting nine hours whilst David’s pelvis was operated on was eclipsed only by the hours in the critical care unit watching David slowly die and be resuscitated repeatedly until his heart could not withstand the damage.

“That night haunts us all; the ultrasound image of his dying heart as David’s body failed, his dilated pupils and finally his distressing pallor as the tubes were removed from his lifeless body has robbed us of the memory of a young, handsome man, full of life and vitality, always ready to make you smile.”

The statement also described how Mr Davies’s father and sister had struggled to grieve properly because of the two-year wait for justice.

Mr Davies senior said: “Only someone who has lost a child, or a sibling, can understand the grief and torment it causes.

“Like any father, I expected to be buried and mourned by my children.

“To have a child taken by an act of selfish negligence only adds to the agony.

“Our world will never have that same delight without David’s kindness and fun in it. We cannot come to terms with the fact that we will never see him again.”