Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 13:53 UK

Driver jailed for killing couple

A lorry driver killed a couple in a car after losing control of his vehicle.

Roland Warth, 60, ended up on the wrong side of the A43 at Duddington, Northamptonshire, after clipping a kerb, and crashed into a Rover.

Car driver Anthony Abbott, 59, and his wife Ann, 56, died instantly, Northampton Crown Court heard.

Warth of Newark Road, Hykham, Lincoln, admitted two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and four months.

The Abbotts, who had been married for 38 years, were travelling from their home in Grantham, Lincolnshire, to a summer holiday in Bournemouth last September.

You have extinguished the lives by your driving of two valuable people who had much to offer
Judge Thomas Corrie

Passing sentence Judge Thomas Corrie told Warth: "Those two people were much loved, they had been married for many years, they had two sons and a granddaughter on whom they doted.

"Their health was, in the female victim's case, excellent and in the male victim's case, perfectly good.

"You know, and I accept that you feel greatly remorseful for it, that you have extinguished the lives by your driving of two valuable people who had much to offer, not only to each other and their families, but to all those who knew them."

Judge Corrie also disqualified Warth from driving for four years.

The court heard Warth had been travelling at 53mph (85km/h) in the minutes leading up to the crash - 25% over the speed limit of 40mph (64km/h) for lorries - but Judge Corrie said this was not necessarily a cause of the accident.

James House, prosecuting, said experts found evidence to suggest Warth had hit the kerb on his own side of the road then lost control of the lorry.

'No memory'

He said three possible explanations for Mr Warth's failure to negotiate the bend were that he was distracted by something, had momentarily fallen asleep, or it was a deliberate act.

Mr House added: "It seems that we will never be able to identify the exact reason for the failure to negotiate the bend having cut the corner."

Richard Clews, mitigating, said: "He is at a complete loss to explain how this tragic accident happened.

"He has no memory of it at all and dearly wishes that he had," he added.

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