Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Driver jailed after woman's death

Patricia Jones
Patricia Jones was driving her son and son-in-law

A Royal Navy engineer has been jailed for three years for causing the death of a grandmother by dangerous driving.

Petty Officer Colin Sharratt, 25, from Port Tennant, Swansea, lost control of his car, hitting Patricia Jones's car.

Merthyr Crown Court heard he was speeding in heavy rain because he was "impatient" to drive 140 miles home from Portsmouth to see his family.

The judge told Sharratt, who was convicted last month, that a lorry driver said he drove "like a prat".

The court heard he lost control of his Subaru Impreza car on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road in "dreadful driving conditions" at 80mph.

A lorry driver you overtook said you were driving like a prat
Judge John Curran

Sharratt's car spun into a Vauxhall Astra which was being driven by Ms Jones, 53, who had slowed down to a speed of 40 mph because of the severe weather.

Her passengers, her son Paul Jones and son-in-law Gavin Davies, survived the impact.

Mr Jones told the court his mother's last words a split second before the crash were: "Oh God!".

Mr Jones tried to revive his mother while waiting for emergency services to arrive at the scene near Merthyr Tydfil.

Sharratt, who served in the Gulf, was rushing home to see his girlfriend and young child.

But he was found groaning in brambles at the roadside and spent a week in hospital with a ruptured spleen.

I think it was quite lenient, but I don't think no matter how much time he was given it would be enough
Paul Jones, victim's son

Sharratt, who was convicted by a jury, was told by Judge John Curran: "You were found guilty of causing death as a result of your bad driving.

"Mrs Jones, a mother and grandmother, was killed and her son suffered eight fractures to the ribs and a fractured femur.

"Doctors said if he was a smaller man he might not have survived.

"You were coming home from Portsmouth on leave and impatient to get back.

"A lorry driver you overtook said you were driving like a prat."

The judge added: "This was bad driving at excessive speed - there was an obvious risk of significant danger."

Merthyr Crown Court heard that Sharratt had served in two warships and on a Royal Navy nuclear submarine during his nine years in the Navy.

Defending, Geraint Walters said Sharratt, was full of remorse and would lose his position with the Navy because of his conviction.

After the case Mr Jones, from Aberdare in the Cynon Valley said: "Three years is not a long time and he will be out in half of that.

"I think it was quite lenient, but I don't think no matter how much time he was given it would be enough."

Sharratt was also disqualified from driving for five years.

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