Widower extends hope to van driver

A WIDOWER today said he hoped the man who contributed to his wife's death would be able to rebuild his life.Speaking outside South East Suffolk Magistrates Court Andrew Ling said he hoped Vincent Clarke, of Kingfisher Rise, Saxmundham, would be able to cope with the remorse he feels for the death of Lynda Ling in August last year.

A WIDOWER today said he hoped the man who contributed to his wife's death would be able to rebuild his life.

Speaking outside South East Suffolk Magistrates Court Andrew Ling said he hoped Vincent Clarke, of Kingfisher Rise, Saxmundham, would be able to cope with the remorse he feels for the death of Lynda Ling in August last year.

Mrs Ling 56, died on Foxhall Road when an overweight runaway van parked by self-employed drainage fitter Clarke ploughed into her as she was walking along a pavement.

Appearing at court today Clarke pleaded guilty to failing to set the handbrake properly and exceeding the maximum weight.

Sentencing Clarke, Magistrates fined him £250 for the failure to switch on the handbrake and £400 for the overweight van charge. He was also ordered to pay £35 costs.

Prosecutor Naomi Turner told the court the van weighed 280 kilograms more than its maximum limit.

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She said investigators found no faults with the van. She added: “The brakes were warm and over a period of time they cooled and contracted, the braking forces exceeded the vehicle on the gradient and the vehicle began to move.”

The court heard Mrs Ling was crushed by the vehicle as it careered down Foxhall Road.

In mitigation defence solicitor Nathan Palmer said his client was of previous good character.

He said: “There was nothing about the appearance of the vehicle that gave the impression anything was wrong. The defendant is extremely remorseful about this incident. He thinks about the deceased lady every day.”

The court heard that father of two Clarke had met with Mrs Ling's husband in an emotional meeting.

The court also heard Clarke had received an award from the Royal Humane Society for rescuing three men from a burning car in Elmstead Market, Essex in 1987.

Chair of the Bench Kate Redmond, said: “This was a tragic accident and our hearts go out to all parties involved.”

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In a statement read out to reporters outside the Elm Street Court, widower Andrew Ling of Valley View Road, Rushmere St Andrew spoke emotionally of his reaction to the sentence.

He said: “We are all relieved that we have finally got to this stage of the proceedings and that a level of justice has been served. The court has found that the defendant directly contributed to the death of my wife Lynda.

“I also recognise the defendant did not set out to instigate this accident. I find it difficult to find any positives from the case.”

Mr Ling said he hoped people would take extra care to ensure that vans and vehicles are parked securely and not overweight in the future.

“In doing so we can all hopefully ensure that this sort of tragedy never happens again.

“Finally my hope is that we can all find a way to cope with the sad tragedy of Lynda's death and begin to rebuild our lives. I extend that hope to the defendant and his family.”

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