Wales

Adjusting heater led to fatal Flintshire road crash

A motorist who killed a motorcyclist after he took his eyes off the road to adjust his car heater has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Philip Delduca, 41, of Penyffordd, Flintshire, admitted causing death by careless driving at Mold Crown Court.

His car struck Russell Green, 45, from behind after the car in front had stopped on the A550 near Hawarden.

Delduca was given a 30-week jail sentence suspended for two years and banned for a year.

Mr Green suffered serious head injuries in the crash at Tinkersdale on 26 September last year and was pronounced dead by paramedics.

The court was told that after adjusting his heater, Delduca looked up and realised too late that a car in front of Mr Green had stopped.

Mr Green, from Neston, Cheshire, ran his own computer firm.

He leaves a wife and four children, the court heard.

At the hearing on Friday, Judge John Rogers QC said there was no suggestion the defendant was driving an excessive speed in his Vauxhall Zafira or that he was driving inappropriately prior to the crash.

He said the fatality was a result of Delduca's momentary inattention while adjusting the heater, which put it at the lowest level of offence.

He told Delduca: "This is a case where I am very much aware that the punishment I impose cannot begin to compensate for the terrible loss suffered by his wife, family, friends and all who knew him.

"I have to sentence you bearing in mind that the charge is not causing death by dangerous driving which is much more serious, but by careless driving.

Remorse

"I am required within the guidelines to assess the gravity of your carelessness."

The judge said Delduca had, in mitigation, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, his remorse was genuine and the tragedy had affected his own health.

He said Delduca was effectively a man of good character and a family man who had been with the same employer for 15 years.

Delduca was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work, was banned from driving for 12 months, and he was ordered to pay £1,200 costs.

After the case, his widow Jane said: "Russ was tragically killed doing what he loved.

"I want people to know that he was in no way to blame for the accident. He was in fact stopped at the time.

"Myself, the children, family and friends are devastated at his loss. The sentence given today does not change this. Russ is sadly missed every day by us all."