"Telling Ben’s children their father had passed away was the most difficult thing ever"
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A lorry driver who admitted being distracted by his phone during a journey that ended with a fatal collision has been jailed for three years.
David Tony Platt, aged 26, from Shrewsbury Road, Market Drayton, Shropshire, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to causing the death of Benjamin Partis, aged 38, of Cardigan, at a previous hearing.
The court heard how Platt had been driving a fully laden HGV carrying 30 tonnes of animal feed when he failed to react appropriately to vehicles stopped ahead of him. He swerved into the path of oncoming traffic on the A487 at Pentregat, Ceredigion, on Monday, 8th June 2020.
Platt’s lorry collided with a Ford Transit being driven by Mr Partis, who was pronounced dead at the scene, with passenger John Noble suffering serious injuries. Platt was also sentenced for causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
The court heard that the defendant admitted in his police interview to having been distracted by his mobile phone earlier during his journey, having taken photographs, made phone calls and carried out an internet search. He was also exceeding the speed limit immediately prior to the collision.
A victim personal statement read out on behalf of Mr Partis’s fiancée, Sophie Hickinbotham, who was pregnant at the time of his death, said telling Ben’s children their father had passed away was the most difficult thing she had ever had to do.
Her statement went on to say: “A 13-year-old should not have to plan their dad's funeral. A four-year-old should not hear that they won't be able to ever see their dad again.
“A two-year-old should not have to blow a kiss into the sky at night to still be able to say good night to their dad.
“A baby should not have to be born without ever being able to have a warm hug or even meet their dad because of a stranger’s actions.
“Sadly, that is the reality for Ben’s children.”
His Honour Huw Rees sentenced Platt to three years imprisonment with a 42-month driving disqualification with the requirement to sit and extended test.