Jailed: Whitchurch driver gets 32 months for killing Shrewsbury father in crash
A motorist from Whitchurch has been jailed for 32 months for causing the death of a Shrewsbury father of two by dangerous driving.
A court heard how victim Adrian Gammon, 42, was the second brother to be killed in a car crash.
He died in April last year when his vehicle was hit by a car being driven too fast on a bend by defendant Joseph Bonwick, 21, from Tilstock, Whitchurch, on the A534 near Wrexham.
Bonwick and his two passengers were said to be laughing as they entered the bend.
He lost control of the VW Polo and struck a vehicle in which Mr Gammon, from Shrewsbury, was a passenger and carrying other staff and young people from a care home. Another passenger was seriously injured.
Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said that the defendant was a young man of good character – but he could not ignore Facebook entries which he said indicated an attitude of bravado and “an unacceptable attitude towards previous accidents and incidents involving excessive speed.”
“The public and in particular the victim’s family would not expect me to ignore that feature,” he said.
But he took into account that Bonwick had no convictions and was a man of good character with a clean driving licence.
Judge Parry said that on April 26 – a fine day when visibility was good and the road conditions faultless – the life of Mr Gammon was taken.
Mr Gammon was a father of two daughters, a loved and loving husband who loved life, who devoted his life to the care of others whose life was “wastefully and quite avoidably lost”, said the judge.
An innocent second man was seriously injured.
“All of that because of your decision to drive without regard for the safety of others,” Judge Parry added.
Bonwick was carrying two passengers himself at a speed which was well in excess of the 40 mph speed limit – in the region of 64 mph, the court heard.
“You drove into an S-bend when it was clear to everyone else that you would not be able to negotiate it safely,” Judge Parry said.
He would have seen and ignored signs warning of the impending danger.
Witnesses had described his driving as “horrendous and dangerous”, he said.
“All said you were driving far too fast for the bend,” he added.
Bonwick admitted causing death by dangerous driving and a second charge of causing injury by dangerous driving. He was banned from diving for 42 months and ordered to take an extended driving test.
The judge said that because of his speed, all that was required for him to lose control completely was for the vehicle to mount the verge for a fraction of a second.
He said the court had to follow sentencing guidelines and the present case did not involve such aggravating features as drink, drugs, racing or competitive driving, texting or using a mobile phone.
The defendant had admitted responsibility to the police, pleaded guilty at the earliest stage and had expressed genuine remorse.
Prosecuting barrister Mark Connor said that it was a tragic case.
Mr Gammon was a rear seat passenger in a vehicle owned by a care home on its way to an ice cream farm and was bring driven on the A534 near Holt. It contained other members of staff and residents, including a girl of 13.
It was being driven perfectly properly but Bonwick, who approached too fast, lost control and narrowly missed two other vehicles before the collision occurred.
There was a “massive impact”, a loud bang when both vehicles were lifted into the air.
Bonwick was trapped but his two passengers got out through a window. Mr Connor said that they did not help anyone and their behaviour “left a lot to be desired.”
Another member of staff was in hospital for three days with three broken ribs and a broken sternum.
Paramedics tried to save Mr Gammon but sadly were unable to do so.
Bonwick produced a prepared statement to police, accepted that he drove too fast and admitted he was fully responsible for what had happened.
The prosecution expert’s case that the speed was between 64 mph and 75 mph but the defendant had pleaded guilty on the basis of the lower speed.
Defending barrister Robert Smith said the tragic events would be with his client for the rest of his life, irrespective of the sentence he received.
He said Bonwick was a decent, hard-working young man who had made a terrible mistake by driving far too fast into a bend. It was a road he was familiar with but was over-confident in his own abilities and he had found himself in a catastrophic situation.
Bonwick himself suffered significant injuries and was in hospital for five days but he appreciated that was nothing compared to the loss suffered by Mr Gammon’s family and the injuries that had been suffered by the other passenger.
Fatal car crash has robbed me of my soulmate – widow tells court
Adrian Gammon was described as a dedicated family man.
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, Mr Gammon’s widow Sara said that she had been robbed of spending her first wedding anniversary with her soulmate. She said whatever happened to the defendant he would be able to get married and have a family but she had been robbed of her future and her best friend.
She revealed that Mr Gammon was one of three brothers and had become the second to be killed as a result of road traffic collision.
He played football and enjoyed watching rugby and was married with two daughters aged 20 and 15.
When his first marriage ended, she said they began a relationship in 2001 and lived in Wem before moving to their house in Shrewsbury. They married and spent their honeymoon in Hong Kong, where he had spent time because his father was in the forces.
In a statement following his death, Chris Rowell, a spokesman for Keys Group where Mr Gammon worked, said he was dedicated to his career and committed to working with children.
He said: “All our team are left in a state of shock and disbelief at this tragic accident. Adie Gammon was a kind, considerate and loyal person, dedicated to his vocation in childcare, and loved and respected by all who knew him.
“He supported the lives of many young people throughout his career and will be sadly missed by both his colleagues and the young people he was committed to. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this extremely difficult time.”
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