Cambridgeshire

Wyton driver Danny Warby guilty over police officer crash death

Det Con Sharon Garrett Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Det Con Sharon Garrett had two children with her police officer husband

A lorry driver has been convicted over a crash he caused after opening a text message which resulted in the death of an off duty police officer.

Det Con Sharon Garrett, 48, died in a five-vehicle collision on the A141 near Wyton, Cambridgeshire, in June 2014.

Danny Warby, of Runcton Holme, near King's Lynn, Norfolk, was driving a 13.6-tonne vehicle that hit the officer's car.

Warby, 28, denied causing death by dangerous driving but was found guilty.

More on this and other news from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk

Image copyright Terry Harris/Paperpix.co.uk
Image caption The prosecution told the court Warby had opened a text message a minute before the accident

During the nine-day trial, Peterborough Crown Court heard Warby opened a text message one minute and six seconds before the accident.

His vehicle crossed the white line in the centre of the road and clipped an oncoming lorry, showering two cars in debris, before crashing into Mrs Garrett's Renault Clio which was in the oncoming line of traffic.

Warby was speeding at 53mph (85km/h) on a stretch of single carriageway restricted to 40mph (64km/h) for lorries at the time of the collision, the prosecution said.

Family 'devastated'

Mother of two, Mrs Garrett, who was married to a fellow police officer, was on her way home from work.

Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Det Con Garrett joined the force in 1991

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mrs Garrett joined Cambridgeshire Police in 1991 and served in a number of roles across the force, most recently investigating complex fraud offences in the Economic Crime Unit.

In a statement, her family said they remained "devastated" by her death.

"Sharon was a fantastic mother who has been taken from her two young children in such tragic circumstances.

"Nothing can ever bring Sharon back, and words can never express how much we all miss her."

Image copyright Terry Harris/Paperpix.co.uk
Image caption Warby had denied causing the officer's death

Warby's defence had said in court the lorry driver had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea in late 2015 and he experienced a micro-sleep just before the crash, however, a jury convicted him of causing death by dangerous driving.

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."

Judge Stuart Bridge told Warby: "This is a very serious offence with hugely tragic consequences and an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable."

He is expected to be sentenced on 12 September.

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