Man who hit and killed blind grandfather on A370 spared jail

PUBLISHED: 15:46 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 15 May 2018

The scene of the accident. Picture: Google Maps

The scene of the accident. Picture: Google Maps

Google Maps

A man has been handed a suspended sentence after hitting and killing a ‘kind’ blind man with his lorry on the A370.

John Parker, aged 54, was driving his lorry along the busy road at about 10am on June 9 when he hit Hugh Swain, aged 63 from Yatton.

Mr Swain had been crossing at the Strawberry Line junction with his dog when he was killed by the Bristol driver.

Bristol Crown Court heard on Tuesday Parker was travelling 34-37mph when he collided with Mr Swain – leaving him with a ‘non-survivable head injury’.

Mr Swain’s stepson Anthony Barber told the court his mum, Margaret Swain, had ‘struggled to carry on’ since his death.

In a victim statement, Mrs Swain spoke of her ‘shock’ and ‘heartbreak’ after the sudden death of her husband of 25 years.

She said: “I was traumatised and left alone to cope without his advice and companionship. The prospect of living without him is heartbreaking and not having the happy retirement we spoke about.”

Mr Barber last spoke to Mr Swain about the cruise he and Margaret would be going on to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

He added: “This was not an accident. If you drive down a busy road not paying attention you are going to hit something, or in this case someone.

“Hugh was a good man, a kind man, but what do you say to a five-year-old boy when he asks where his granddad is?”

Parker, of Fortfield Road, was sentenced after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving and said he was ‘incredibly sorry’ for the pain he had caused.

Mary Cowe, prosecuting, said: “The experts concluded the defendant, who was travelling between 34 and 37mph, failed to decelerate when approaching the crossing and only did so when the lights were red.

“The tachograph reveals he braked sharply but was not able to stop in time, and collided with Mr Swain.”

Charles Row, defending, said Parker is a ‘shadow of the man he once was’ and is ‘desperately sorry’.

He added: “Mr Parker has replayed the events over and over and he would trade places with the victim in a heartbeat.”

Judge James Patrick described the events as an ‘absolute tragedy’ and paid tribute to the victim.

He handed Parker a four-month sentence suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and told he could not drive for two years.

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