Van driver killed man out celebrating his 30th birthday

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Jason PallettImage source, Pallett family
Image caption,
Jason Pallett was killed when Ian Rule's van hit him as he was walking home along an unlit road

A van driver who hit a man walking home along a dark road after celebrating his 30th birthday has pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Ian Rule, of Prime Close, Barrington, Cambridgeshire was travelling at 79.8mph (128km/h) when he hit Jason Pallett, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Mr Pallett had run out of money for a taxi and was walking along the A10 near Royston on 23 December 2018.

Rule, 53, was sentenced to eight months in jail, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of community service and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

'All but invisible'

The court heard Mr Pallett had been out with friends celebrating on Saturday, 22 December, 2018.

They visited a number of bars in Cambridge until he left at about 04:00 GMT.

Prosecutor Charles Falk said Mr Pallett caught a taxi part-way to his home in Reed near Royston, but completed the journey on foot having run out of money.

He was wearing dark clothing while walking along the southbound A10, a rural road with no street lighting, and "would have looked all but invisible", Mr Falk said.

The court heard how at 05:30 a woman driving a car had to "swerve to avoid him walking in the middle of the road".

Shortly afterwards Rule's Peugeot van hit him.

'Struck from behind'

Rule was on his way to work as a delivery driver transporting blood and other items between hospitals.

Mr Pallett, who had been "in the middle of the road" and one-and-a-half times over the drink drive limit was "struck from behind" and died at the scene, Mr Falk said.

"But for the excessive speed, the collision could have been avoided," he added.

The court heard Rule had been left "a broken man" following the crash and that he felt "considerable sorrow".

The court also heard victim statements from Mr Pallett's family, including his brother John, father Kevin and mother Anne.

The Millwall fan was described as a happy, kind, "good man" who had been looking forward to having his own family.

Judge David Farrell told Rule "no sentence could reflect the loss of human life, particularly of a young man who was loved by all".

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