Ipswich driver responsible for death of Mike Ashton in road crash is spared jail

Bradley Soden leaves Ipswich Magistrates

Bradley Soden leaves Ipswich Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

A driver who caused the death of a much-loved family man has been spared prison, leaving his victim’s family feeling justice has not been done.

Angie and Mike Ashton

Angie and Mike Ashton - Credit: Archant

The family of Mike Ashton were unhappy with the sentence given to Bradley Soden, of Gatacre Road, Ipswich, by the town’s magistrates.

However, the court heard the 33-year-old has been deeply affected by the tragedy caused by a ‘momentary lapse of concentration’.

Soden admitted causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

Mr Ashton, 48, of Hitcham, was a front seat passenger in a Peugeot 206 driven by his wife Angie, which was struck by Soden’s Ford Mondeo at 8.45pm on March 15 last year.

Angie Ashton (Mr Ashton's wife ,far left )
with family outside Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Angie Ashton (Mr Ashton's wife ,far left ) with family outside Ipswich Magistrates Court. - Credit: Archant

Mr Ashton – a father-of-four – died at the scene of the crash on the B1078 at Barking. His wife sustained serious injuries which she has been told will mean she will no longer be able to pursue a career as a fitness instructor.

Soden was also seriously hurt.

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Anita Addison, prosecuting, said all Mrs Ashton could recall was headlights approaching as she was driving around a bend.

Mrs Ashton saw a flash of light immediately in front of her and the collision occurred on her side of the road.

The court heard Mrs Ashton had said she had no chance to avoid the impact and was knocked out.

A police officer investigating the tragedy found Soden’s Mondeo lost traction on the road, and clipped the kerb on a left-hand bend.

In an attempt to correct the vehicle Soden over-steered and his vehicle ended up on the wrong side of the road.

Miss Addison said although Soden had consumed a glass-and-a-half of wine he was below the legal alcohol limit.

Among Mrs Ashton’s injuries were a broken left kneecap, and injury to her upper left leg, severe bruising to her neck, ribs, back, shoulder, arms and right side.

She also had a cut shin and a broken middle toe which was also dislocated.

The court was told she still suffers pain and has flashbacks, as well as panic attacks.

John Hughes, mitigating for Soden, told the court his client was remorseful and had been deeply traumatised by Mr Ashton’s death.

Mr Hughes said: “Nothing I can say on behalf of Mr Soden and the effect this tragic accident had upon him can compare with the loss suffered by Mr Ashton’s wife and family.

“All that Mr Soden can remember is that suddenly his wheels seemed to clip the kerb and sent the car out of control. He says he tried to correct everything, but was unable to do so.”

As a result Soden lost control of the Mondeo and ended up striking the car being driven by Mrs Ashton.

Soden spent five days in hospital with two broken ribs and severe internal bruising. He also had a fractured nose and a fracture to one of his feet.

The court was told as a result of the tragedy Soden had begun drinking heavily, but has since curbed his alcohol consumption.

Mr Hughes said: “He says he has regular flashbacks of the accident and often wakes up in tears.

“He has become somewhat reclusive and spends most of the time at work or at home with his girlfriend.

“He has got to live with it for the rest of his life. He knows during that momentary lapse of concentration he has caused the death of a family man.”

Sentencing Soden, District Judge Celia Dawson acknowledged the pain of Mr Ashton’s family. She also said she was aware of how remorseful Soden is.

Soden was sentenced to 26 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £85 costs, as well as £115 to the victims’ fund.

After the hearing Pete Ashton, one of Mr Ashton’s three brothers, spoke on behalf of his family.

He said: “I feel justice has not been carried out – far from it.

“I think it is a joke because it seemed all about how it has affected him (Soden) and his lifestyle, and very, very little about how it has affected us.”