Melton hockey coach given suspended prison sentence for causing death of Scalford man by careless driving

Court news
Court news

A Melton hockey coach who admitted causing the death of a Scalford man in a head-on road crash by careless driving has been given a eight-month suspended prison sentence.

Richard Randall (31) was driving a BMW Mini on the A606 southbound towards Nether Broughton on his way to a hockey match on the afternoon of March 14 last year.

As he got to the bottom of Broughton Hill, where the road bends slightly, he tried to overtake a slower-moving vehicle in front of him.

Randall, whose car was carrying two passengers, pulled out to overtake, crossing the white line, but after seeing a black Ford Zetec coming in the other direction and realising he wouldn’t be able to complete the manoeuvre he swerved back into his lane.

Driving the oncoming car was 54-year-old Scalford man Simon Allen who was on his way to see his niece Kimberley’s new house.

As he came around the bend Mr Allen saw Randall’s wrongly positioned car which caused him to react by moving left towards the grass verge.

But then in correcting his steering Mr Allen’s car moved into the other carriageway, colliding head-on with another vehicle - a Peugeot 407.

Emergency services arrived quickly at the scene but Mr Allen, who suffered head and chest injuries, was already dead - Leicester Crown Court heard today (Monday). A man and woman in the Peugeot suffered minor injuries.

The court was told that Randall didn’t know about the collision which his actions had caused and that he voluntarily came forward to the police as soon as he found out about the incident after seeing a police appeal on Facebook.

Prosecutor Chris Canning read out statements in court from Mr Allen’s family members. His sister, Mandy Darby, said ‘The day Simon was killed it killed all of us too’, describing the ‘agonising’ pain her family had gone through.

His mum, Janet, mentioned her son’s love of DIY and charitable work, describing herself as being ‘just a wreck’ since his death and the feeling of her son being ‘robbed of life’.

Mr Allen’s niece, Kimberley, recalled how excited she was that her uncle was coming to see her new home, adding that she will ‘miss him very much’, including his ‘quirky personality’.

The court heard that Randall, of Conway Drive, Melton, wasn’t speeding at the time of his overtaking manoeuvre but the woman driver in front of him described his car as ‘swerving and wobbling’ as if he wasn’t in control.

The court also heard that Randall had a string of previous motoring offences including failing to comply with red traffic lights in November 2009 and August 2010, driving while using a mobile phone in November 2010, speeding at 70mph in a 50mph zone in January 2012 and speeding at 80mph in a 70mph zone in November 2014.

Clementine Coram-James, defending Randall, said: “He offers his sincere apologies to Mr Allen’s family and expresses deep remorse. He deeply regrets his mistake and is devastated that he had a hand in such a loss of life.

“He accepts that by moving out to overtake and moving back in he caused Mr Allen to react. He pulled out too far. He doesn’t seek to suggest that any blame lay on Mr Allen for his reaction.”

She added: “The defendant’s good character remains and a large number of references have been handed in including from family, friends and his employer.

“A test to his caring nature is that he’s a young man heavily involved in the community. He volunteers to coach children’s and women’s hockey teams in Melton and a children’s cricket team. He also volunteers to organise fundraisers for these team sports.”

Judge Philip Head said: “The law can do nothing that can begin to equate to the value of Mr Allen’s life lost and that is a dreadful thing.”

He told Randall: “You failed to edge out with necessary care in order to check ahead sufficiently to decide whether it would be safe to overtake. Instead you pulled out substantially across the white line and only then registered the oncoming vehicle, swerving back in because at that stage you realised the danger you caused to yourself and the driver of the oncoming vehicle.

“It was a brief period of careless driving and you came forward and owned up.

“You have no previous convictions outside the road traffic environment, however you have what can only be described as a bad record for road traffic offences and this is a significant aggravating feature.”

Randall was given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months and must pay £350 costs.

He was also banned from driving for two-and-a-half years and will have to pass an extended test educating hi about safe driving.