A motorist who caused a fatal collision only moments after checking a text message at the wheel has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
Lorry driver Danny Warby had crashed his vehicle into an off-duty policewoman’s vehicle. Det Con Sharon Garrett, who had been driving home from work at the time, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Peterborough Crown Court had heard evidence of the circumstances leading up to the crash, which occurred in Wyton, Cambridgeshire, in June 2014.
Phone records showed that Warby, 28, had opened the text message a little over a minute before the collision.
His lorry had crossed the white line in the middle of the road, clipping an oncoming vehicle and showering two cars in debris. It then collided with Mrs Garrett’s Renault Clio.
Warby, who had denied causing the officer’s death, had said he had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea and he had experienced a “micro-sleep” shortly before the five-vehicle crash occurred.
This week however, jurors had found him guilty and Judge Stuart Bridge warned the defendant that a custodial sentence would be “inevitable”.
PC Pete Bimson, who investigated the collision, said: “The evidence heard in court showed it could have been avoided and it really drives home the message that using a mobile phone at the wheel can have fatal consequences.”
In a statement, Mrs Garrett’s family said: “We would like to express our thanks to the officers involved in the investigation, the prosecution team, and of course the jury in reaching this verdict.
“The whole family remains devastated by what happened… Sharon was a wonderful woman, a hard-working and dedicated police officer. She meant so much to so many.”
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ata had influenced the figures, although members do not believe this tells the whole story.
Nick Smart, who chairs the organisation’s West Yorkshire branch, said: “Having lost 1,200 plus West Yorkshire police officers in five years, or 20 per cent of the police workforce, an increase in crime is also partly due to less officer visibility and deterrent.”
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