A businessman who killed a stranded motorist after driving into the back of his broken down car has been jailed for 12 months and banned for five years.
Robin Woodward failed to see the Ford Focus in the dark despite the fact that it’s hazard warning lights and head lights were on.
Lincoln Crown Court was told that other motorists swerved around the broken down vehicle on the A1 at South Witham but Woodward took no evasive action and only applied his brakes when it was too late to avoid a collision.
Woodward had cancelled the insurance for his vehicle six weeks earlier after being told that his motoring record was so bad he faced having his £1,300 annual fee being doubled after failing to report an earlier accident.
Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said that Woodward was travelling at 60 mph and the collision caused a huge impact. The other driver Stuart Young (24) suffered fatal injuries.
Private Young, who served with the elite 13th Air Assault Support Regiment, was returning to his barracks at Colchester after spending the Christmas and New Year period with his family and friends in his home town of Glenrothes, Fife.
The soldier posted on twitter “trying to find a hard shoulder when u lose all power in your car #scarystuff” to alert friends and family to his problem but seconds later suffered fatal injuries when his vehicle was struck from behind by businessman Robin Woodward.
Woodward later claimed he only saw Private Young’s car when it was too late to avoid a collision but the court was told he had enough time to brake if he had reacted correctly.
He admitted he had been continually checking his fuel level during his journey as he was running low on petrol and unable to refuel because he had set off without his wallet.
Mr Scott said “Stuart Young was serving in the army. He set off from home in his Ford Focus to drive back to his army base. Some time about 4.50 pm his car began to develop a fault. We know that because he sent a tweet.
“His vehicle came to a halt in the nearside lane of the southbound carriageway of the A1. There was no hard shoulder.
“It was dark and he deployed his hazard warning lights. His rear and front lights were illuminated. He did what he could to alert other road users that he was stationary. There was a fault in the fuel delivery system of his car.
“The defendant was travelling south to Stamford. He failed to see Mr Young’s car in time and drove into the back of it.”
Woodward (32), of West End Road, Frampton, admitted causing death by careless driving on 5 January 2013. He was jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for five years.
During a four hour hearing he claimed his broker had mistakenly cancelled his insurance but this was rejected by Judge Sean Morris.
The court was told that Woodward had been banned from drink driving in 2003 and at the time of the collision had four points on his licence with three further speeding convictions pending which he had failed to tell his insurers. He also did not tell his insurers about an earlier accident when he reversed into a Mercedes. He has also been banned since for drink driving.
Judge Morris told him “You should have seen him. Everybody else did but you didn’t. You could have stopped had you been driving properly. What makes your case worse is that you have a bad driving record. Not only that but you were driving uninsured.
“There is a streak in you that doesn’t care about anybody else but yourself. Even at the time of the accident you weren’t wearing your seat belt. You seem to think that the rules of the road apply to everybody except yourself. I am satisfied that you were driving deliberately without insurance because it was too expensive and probably because you didn’t want to tell your parents about it. An immediate prison sentence has to follow.”
Andrew Vout, defending, said Woodward was desperately sorry for what he did.
“He just didn’t react quick enough. His mistake has cost Stuart Young his life.”
At the time of Stuart’s death his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Marshall, paid tribute to him saying “Private Young was the epitome of everything that was good in a professional soldier; intelligent, committed, utterly professional and a thoroughly good bloke.”
Kenny Young (51), the father of Stuart Young, said “There was no remorse whatsoever from this guy. He is irresponsible. He was trying to wriggle out of everything. He knew he had no insurance. That is totally unacceptable. He deserves everything he gets. The man is a villain.
“He has no idea what we have been through so far and what we are going to go through for the rest of our lives. The family are absolutely devastated. It has wrecked our lives forever.”