Grieving mum criticises driver jail term

A DEVASTATED mother has criticised the jail term handed to a lorry driver who caused the death of her eight-year-old son - and told of the “gaping hole” left in her family.

A DEVASTATED mother has criticised the jail term handed to a lorry driver who caused the death of her eight-year-old son - and told of the “gaping hole” left in her family.

Louise Elbrow said every aspect of her life had been destroyed after her son William was killed following a pile-up on the A14 last May.

HGV driver Michael Coombes , 62, of St Mary's Road, Stowmarket, was yesterdayjailed for two-and-a-half years and banned from the road for three years after last month being found guilty of death by dangerous driving.

He was said to have shown “prolonged inattention” in the build-up to the crash. His 22-tonne lorry smashed into the family's 4x4 which was towing a caravan and being driven by the youngster's father as the family, from Thrapston, Northamptonshire, were travelling to the seaside for a weekend break.


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In a moving statement read out in court, Mrs Elbrow said: “Every aspect of my life has been destroyed. There is such a gaping hole in our family and my heart has been truly broken.

William's father, Simon, 38, was seriously injured in the crash which happened near Cambridge. His two other children, a six-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl, also suffered minor injuries.

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Christopher Paxton, defending, said that Coombes, a lorry driver with 40 years experience, had been suffering from depression since the accident and had received death threats.

His Honour Judge Anthony Bate, said the cause of the accident was prolonged inattention and there were no aggravating features such as using a mobile phone.

He added: “Any punishment can no way equate to the loss you have inflicted on the bereaved Elbrow family - that is beyond measure.”

After the case, Mrs Elbrow said: “I don't feel there has been any justice. The whole trial has been completely unnecessary as from the word go, he (Coombes) had no defence for his actions.

“I just hope this case highlights the need for drivers, once on the road, to realise they are in charge of a potentially lethal weapon.”

Since the tragedy, Mrs Elbrow has helped raise more than £10,000 for road safety charity Brake. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/williamelbrow

n. What do you think of the sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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