Oxford

A34 fatal crash driver meets victim's girlfriend

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Media captionMoment killer driver meets victim's partner

A driver who killed a man in a head-on crash has told his victim's partner he lived "to pay for what I've done".

Lewis Stratford met Meg Williamson ahead of his sentencing for the crash he caused during an argument with his girlfriend on the phone.

Gavin Roberts, 28, died after Stratford's car crossed the central reservation on the A34, in Oxfordshire.

At the meeting, which Ms Williamson set up, Stratford, 24, said he knew he had ruined lives.

"When I had the message she wanted to meet me I felt upset because I'm guilty and I feel like a bad person," he told the BBC, which filmed the encounter.

Ms Williamson asked to see Stratford, of Field Avenue, Oxford, after he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He is due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 3 March.

He had been driving southbound towards his girlfriend's home, while Mr Roberts - an Australian who was living in Swindon - was going northbound on his way to work as an electrical engineer.

Stratford lost control of his Vauxhall Corsa during the argument on 11 June last year and crashed through the barrier before colliding with Mr Robert's BMW.

Image copyright Meg Williamson
Image caption Gavin Roberts died of a brain injury

Both men were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, but while Stratford survived, Mr Roberts died days later.

Stratford was the first to speak in the meeting, saying: "I know I've caused a lot of pain with something that could have waited till the next day.

"I know the lives I've ruined, I deserve everything I get. I am sorry but I can't keep saying that because it's not going to make things better."

Speaking after the meeting, Miss Williamson told the BBC: "The hardest bit originally, I think, was just walking through the door, not knowing how I was going to be feeling, how I was going to react.

"Back in June, when I was sat in the hospital, I did have that hatred and I did have the anger but then over time you realise Lewis is a real person and he had compassion and he was sorry for what he did.

"It's very difficult to warm to somebody when you know why you're sat there but I was understanding of his emotions and compassion and thankful to him for having agreed to meet me."

You can watch the full interview on Inside Out South at 19:30 GMT on Monday.

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