Cumbria

M6 crash death football agent Peter Morrison jailed

Peter Morrison Image copyright Craig McGlasson
Image caption Peter Morrison had pleaded guilty to careless driving but denied dangerous driving

A football agent who killed a traffic officer on the M6 has been jailed for seven years.

Peter Morrison, 37, had been speeding and sending phone messages before the crash in Cumbria in February 2016.

Adam Gibb, 51, from Penrith, died and Paul Holroyd, 53, from Kirkby Stephen, was left paralysed from the chest down.

Morrison, of The Warke in Worsley, Salford, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

Sentencing him at Liverpool Crown Court, Mr Justice William Davis said the jail term he was imposing "does not begin to reflect the true value of the lives you have wrecked".

Morrison was also handed an eight-year driving ban.

Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption Adam Gibb's family said he was a "fantastic dad and a wonderful husband"

At his trial Morrison admitted causing death by careless driving, but denied dangerous driving.

Jurors were told he was speeding and sending a string of phone WhatsApp messages minutes before losing control of his Mercedes ML 350 4x4 in "atrocious" weather conditions.

His vehicle then swerved "violently" off the southbound carriageway, across the hard shoulder and rebounded off a rock before ploughing into the two Highways England traffic officers who were overseeing the recovery of two previously-crashed vehicles.

During 23 miles he had exchanged 25 phone messages and the last - 96 seconds before the crash - was to Nottingham Forest's Zach Clough containing a link to video footage of a goal the striker had scored.

In his police interview, Morrison refused to answer questions about the collision but read from a pre-prepared statement.

He said: "I accept the mobile phone analysis shows I was both sending and receiving messages on my phone prior to the accident.

"However, I do not accept any suggestion that I was distracted at the time of the collision and I do not accept the use of my mobile phone caused or contributed to this tragic accident."

Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption The weather at the time of the crash was described as "atrocious"

The married father-of-one was a former footballer who played for Bolton Wanderers and Scunthorpe United before his career was cut short by injury.

During his trial, jurors heard a number of character references in support of Morrison, including from Queens Park Rangers footballer Nedum Onuoha and the Manchester City and Belgium player Vincent Kompany.

Morrison, who was described as "remorseful" wrote a letter to the court stating: "I will punish myself, mentally, for this until the day I die."

Following sentencing, Insp Jo Fawcett of Cumbria Police said: "Morrison's driving manner showed reckless disregard for the safety of other road users which has resulted in Mr Gibb losing his life and Mr Holroyd suffering horrendous injuries which will impact on the rest of his life.

"Morrison's decision to drive at an inappropriate speed for the road conditions, whilst using a mobile phone no less, have directly led to this tragic outcome."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites