Lorry driver was shopping online before death crash

  • Published
Florin SolomonImage source, GMP
Image caption,
Florin Solomon initially tried to blame his victim for the crash

A lorry driver who was online shopping on his phone when he ploughed through a red light and killed a man has been jailed.

Florin Solomon, 29, was using his mobile while driving on the A580 East Lancashire Road in January.

His Scania HGV hit the side of a Toyota Corolla driven by Mark Byrne, 58, who died at the scene.

Solomon pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for four years at Manchester Crown Court.

Mr Byrne, from Warrington, had been made MBE in 2003 for his 10 years of charitable work for children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

He worked in Whitehall as a private soldier before being posted to Germany in the 1990s, and later returned to the UK as a civil servant for the Ministry of Defence.

The court heard the father-of-three and grandfather had planned to foster children with his wife during their retirement.

'Stupidity and recklessness'

Mr Byrne, was travelling home from a hospital appointment with his wife Julie, 56, at the time of the collision on 21 January.

Initially, Romanian national Solomon told police he went through the lights on amber, and claimed Mr Byrne turned into his path at the junction with Atherleigh Way in Leigh.

But footage of the accident showed the lights were red for at least eight seconds before the crash and Mr Byrne had driven in a perfectly lawful manner.

Analysis of Solomon's phone by investigators also disproved his claim he had placed an order on Amazon when stopped at a junction.

In a victim personal statement, Mrs Byrne, who was seriously injured in the crash, said she had lost her "soulmate" and "getting through each day is a task" as she still suffers physical pain and nightmares.

Passing sentence, Judge Graeme Smith told Solomon: "It has been accepted that it was your stupidity and recklessness that led to the accident."

Rebecca Caulfield, defending, said her client was "distraught" and "full of remorse".

Solomon, of Lansdowne Walk, Worcester, was also disqualified from driving for five years and 11 months.

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