Coventry & Warwickshire

Killer lorry driver Felix Gillon was watching porn

Kerry Pemberton with his wife Cheryl Image copyright PA
Image caption Kerry Pemberton, pictured with his wife Cheryl, died on the way to hospital

A lorry driver who killed a man when he ploughed into his vehicle while watching pornography on his phone has been jailed for eight years.

Felix Gillon hit Kerry Pemberton on the M69 in Leicestershire in May, crushing him against the safety barrier.

The 56-year-old had looked up "porn star candy love" four minutes before the crash, and was seen trying to throw his phone away afterwards.

He denied causing death by dangerous driving at Leicester Crown Court.

He also denied attempting to pervert the course of justice but was convicted and sentenced on Thursday.

Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption An off-duty police officer witnessed Felix Gillon throwing his phone away after the crash

The court heard Gillon, of Johnson Road, Bedworth, Warwickshire, was seen drifting in and out of the hard shoulder of the southbound carriageway at about 15:13 BST on 3 May.

The former Army sergeant's vehicle then smashed into Mr Pemberton's lorry.

The 55-year-old from Birmingham was cut free from the wreckage but died from a heart attack on the way to hospital.

An off-duty police officer witnessed Gillon throwing his phone away after the crash but it was seized.

The court heard, 25 web pages were accessed just before the crash, including pornographic images and galleries.

'Miss his smile'

Sentencing Gillon, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said the evidence against him was "overwhelming".

"You told a series of lies to seek to cover your tracks but the jury saw through it all."

He said he had "carefully, deliberately and surreptitiously" disposed of his phone after the incident and although he had "privately expressed remorse", it would have been "better demonstrated in criminal proceedings."

In a victim impact statement, Mr Pemberton's partner, Cheryl, said his death had been the "hardest time" and she still waited for him to come home every day.

"Kerry brought me anything I wanted over the years. I miss the kiss I would get when he came home from work, the cuddles with his long, powerful arms and his smile," she said.

Peter Cooper, defending, said Gillon had served in the Army as part of the Royal Engineers between 1988 and 1991, and at the same time obtained his Heavy Goods Vehicle qualifications.

Gillon was also disqualified from driving for eight years.

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