Driver jailed for causing fatal crash during phone row with girlfriend

A speeding driver who killed a man by crashing into his car while arguing with his girlfriend on the phone has been jailed.

Lewis Stratford, 24, of Field Avenue, Oxford, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court

The court heard his Vauxhall Corsa had hit the central reservation of the A34 near East Ilsley in Berkshire on 11 June, 2016.

The vehicle crossed onto the opposite carriageway where it collided with a BMW being driven by 28-year-old Gavin Roberts, who was seriously injured and died four days later.

Jailing Stratford for three years and eight months, Judge Stephen John said: "This was a wholly avoidable accident which caused a wholly avoidable death. Only you are to blame."

Prosecutor Alan Blake said his car was probably doing more than 70mph as it was able to crash through the central reservation that is built to withstand speed.

Stratford admitted consuming some alcohol but because of the nature of his injuries police were unable to do a breath test.

He was put in an induced coma and underwent surgery to repair a torn aorta and broken leg, but left hospital three weeks later.

The judge said Stratford had insisted on driving late at night in an emotional state despite being warned not to by his then girlfriend.

Prosecutors said he had made multiple calls to her in the 30 minutes before the crash, screaming down the phone that she was cheating on him.

Geoff Roberts, the victim's father, who had flown in from Australia, sat in court with his arms around his son's girlfriend, Meg Williamson, as they prepared to read their statements.

Stratford had apologised to Ms Williamson when they previously met.

She told him she would probably be able to forgive him "eventually".

Mr Roberts said he could not accept that his son had died in an accident because the actions of a speeding driver in an emotional state "should not be regarded as an accident" but as a "deliberate series of actions leading towards the inevitable and catastrophic collision".

He added: "My belief that Gavin's death was totally preventable makes it even more difficult to accept."

Ms Williamson said her life had been filled with anxiety since her boyfriend's death and she worried about losing another loved one.

She described him as a "funny, smart and compassionate" partner.

"Goodnight my angel," she said, ending her statement in tears.

The judge reduced Stratford's sentence by a year to take into account his guilty plea but he also disqualified him from driving for four years and 10 months.