08:00 Wednesday 21 November 2012

Trucker jailed following tragic death of Ben, 24

Written byALEX WAINWRIGHT

A LORRY driver has been jailed after failing to stop following a road accident on the A38 which led to the death of a 24-year-old moped rider.

Ben Warrington
Ben Warrington

Benjamin Warrington was on his way to his first day at work at the Tesco Distribution Centre, in Fradley, on February 21, when he was hit by an articulated lorry being driven by Gurjeet Dhillon.

Burton Magistrates’ Court heard the accident happened at around 5am on the slip road leading onto the A38 at Streethay, near Lichfield.

The victim was travelling in front of the lorry, which was making its way to Burton’s Waterstone’s depot, on the Centrum 100 business park, to make a delivery.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: “CCTV from Waterstone’s showed him checking the front of the lorry. Then he went back on to the A38 and clearly sees the emergency services.

“He failed to stop and failed to report anything.” Dhillon, of Hydes Road, West Bromwich, was arrested and interviewed by police.

In his first and second interview he denied knowledge of the accident, but in his third he was shown the CCTV footage, after which he said he thought he had hit an animal.

A victim statement from Mr Warrington’s mother Hillary was read out in court, in which she described the moment she heard of her son’s death as the worst of her life.

It said: “My whole life fell apart. I could not believe my beautiful son who I’d said goodbye to the night before was gone.

“The fact that someone collided with him and left him to bleed to death alone, on a cold February morning, is unforgivable.”

A statement from his sister Sophy said that her brother’s death had left a hole in the family that could not be filled.

Jennifer Josephs, defending, said: “It’s not easy to mitigate after what has been said about this tragic accident, and I say accident because that’s what it was.”

Ms Josephs asked magistrates to put emotion aside and reminded them that they were not sentencing Dhillon for the death of Mr Warrington, of Agincourt Road, Lichfield, but for failing to stop after and failing to report the accident.

She said: “The defendant simply didn’t see him (Mr Warrington) as he pulled on to the A38. He thought he’d hit something but he didn’t realise he’d hit a moped or another vehicle — he thought he’d hit an animal.”

Ms Josephs told the court that her client had no previous convictions and a clean driving licence, while a letter from his employer said he was a good and reliable employee.

She said if he lost his liberty it would affect his family, and if he lost his driving licence he would lose his job.

Magistrates ruled that because of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a custodial sentence was their only option.

Dhillon was sentenced to 20 weeks in jail and was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

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