Death crash driver tells of heartbreak

A HEARTBROKEN pensioner has today told of the trauma he felt when his beloved companion died in his arms after a horrific car crash he was responsible for.

A HEARTBROKEN pensioner has today told of the trauma he felt when his beloved companion died in his arms after a horrific car crash he was responsible for.

Second World War veteran George Williams, of Rose Court, Shotley, admitted to a court that he had driven carelessly before the crash that killed his front-seat passenger, Joan Machin in June.

But he said he now preferred to dwell on the happier times and admitted he had planned to ask Mrs Machin, 74, to be his wife before the terrible smash which also injured a family of four.

Mr Williams, 84, added that he was pleased he had been able to be by Mrs Machin's side as she took her last breath in Ipswich Hospital.

He said: "They took me down to see her, she was still breathing. Her daughter was there and they said she didn't have long to go.

"I saw her on the last breath and kissed her hand and arm and said 'goodbye'.

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"I don't know if she heard me."

Mr Williams, a father-of-two sons and a grandfather-of-four, said he still felt devastated about Mrs Machin's death, especially because at the time of the fatal accident he had been driving his blue 520i BMW over the white lines at Gayford Terrace in Shotley, causing it to crash head-on with a silver Ford Fusion.

He said: "I don't remember anything about the crash but it was only about 600 yards from my home.

"All I remember is waking up in hospital. I had wires in my hand and a pin through my wrist."

Mr Williams had become good friends with Mrs Machin after his son, Stephen, started seeing her daughter, Jane, two years ago.

The young couple did not stay together but Mr Williams and Mrs Machin, who lived in Brightlingsea, formed a lasting bond and continued to write letters to each other and go out for trips together.

Mr Williams, who worked as an engineer in the gas and water industries after serving as a chief petty officer for the Royal Navy in the Second World War, added: "I'm lost without her. She was a beautiful woman.

"I really liked her; I loved her.

"We never had a fight. I would have married her if I'd known what has happened now."

He said that the couple had provided each other with invaluable support after his wife, Joyce, died four years ago and Mrs Machin's husband, Ivan, died about five years ago.

And he explained that once their friendship had even saved her life.

He said: "One day I couldn't get her on the phone so I went to her house to find out what had happened.

"All the curtains were shut but I had a key so I went in and she was lying on the kitchen floor.

"I phoned an ambulance and she went to hospital.

"I saved her life that day."

And after Mrs Machin came out of hospital he remembers that he had promised staff he would look after her.

He said: "I wish so much she was still here. I loved her so much."

The court case

Following the horrific head-on smash which claimed Joan Machin's life George Williams admitted at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court that he had driven carelessly at the time of the crash.

Andrea Reynolds, prosecuting, told the court that the crash had happened at about 3.30pm on June 4 in Shotley.

She said: "This gentleman had been out with his companion for the afternoon.

"He crosses over the single line which separates the two carriageways into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

"The spot where they collided was where the vehicle was found latter.

"Mr Williams' BMW was seen clearly crossed the central line."

She added that the passengers of the silver Ford Fusion, Mr Cross, his partner Helen Organ, and her son and daughter all suffered injuries as a result of the crash and Ms Organ fractured her back bone.

Mr Williams also needed hospital treatment.

Sarah Langford, mitigating, added: "You're not looking at someone who is deliberately careless in their driving.

"This was not a high-impact collision. Both cars must have been travelling at 30mph or below.

"This is the first time he's ever appeared before the court.

"He has lost a very close friend, a companion of two years. This has been hanging over his head for a very long time."

Mr Williams was fined £500, given six penalty points on his previously clean driving licence, he was also ordered to pay £95 in costs.

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