A killer driver was branded a ‘chancer at the wheel’ as he began a four-year sentence for causing the deaths of four members of the same family by sending their car crashing into a reservoir.
Judge Niclas Parry hit out at 24-year-old garage attendant Gordon Dyche’s record as he passed sentence.
The crash in April last year happened just after Dyche had completed a ban for driving while disqualified and without insurance.
He said he was rushing because he was ‘late for work’.
Caernarfon Crown Court also heard that he had also been disqualified for driving without insurance and for driving while disqualified in August 2010 and had a conviction for theft, also in 2010.
Dyche, of Llanbrynmair, near Llanidloes, was overtaking two vehicles when he crashed into the back of a Peugeot 807 people carrier, sending it into Llyn Clywedog, near Llanidloes on April 20, last year.
The people carrier plunged seven metres below the surface and only driver Denise Griffith, 56, and her dog, Milly survived.
Mrs Griffith’s husband Emyr, 66, mother Phyllis Hooper, 84, and two foster sons Peter Briscome and Liam Govier, both 14, died.
In a statement outside the court, Mrs Griffith said: “No words can express how much I miss my family and how much my life has changed since that day.”
Alison Govier, 38, the natural mother of Liam, said: “This past year has been the worst of my life – it feels like my life has been on hold.”
The collision happened when Dyche tried to overtake two cars, the front one being driven by Mrs Griffith, who was turning right into a lay-by to view the reservoir. As she turned towards the layby, Dyche hit the back of her car.
The jury at Caernarfon Crown Court cleared Dyche of four counts of causing death by dangerous driving, but found him guilty of four counts of the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving.
Judge Niclas Parry told Dyche: “This behaviour and your previous convictions for motoring matters has confirmed you as a chancer behind the wheel. Your failure to see Mrs Griffith’s indicator and your selfish need had shocking, tragic consequences.”
Shortly after the incident, Dyche told a paramedic: “I shouldn’t have done it. I was late for work. It’s my fault.”
Dyche, who had denied all the charges, said he was satisfied that it was safe to overtake and had only made admissions that it was his fault at the scene as he was in shock.
The family had been travelling back from a day out in Machynlleth to their holiday caravan near Llandrindod Wells when the incident happened at about 2.25pm.
The court had heard how Dyche left home for work in a Ford Mondeo shortly after 2pm on the afternoon of the crash. He was driving eight miles to Llanidloes to start work at 4.30pm.