[A] driver whose dangerous and illegal over-taking manoeuvre led to him crashing his car head-on into another car, has been jailed today for two-and-a-half years.
Calum Wilkinson, 25, of Eaigle Terrace, Main Road, Flimby, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving on 28 June 2017 following the collision which claimed the life of 83-year-old David Bennell from Braithwaite.
The collision happened at around 4.40pm on 29 April 2016 on the A66 at Braithwaite. Wilkinson was heading eastbound in a blue Volkswagen Bora whilst Mr Bennell was driving westbound in a silver Toyota Avensis.
Numerous witnesses reported seeing Wilkinson’s Volkswagen Bora driving at a greater speed to other traffic and carrying out overtaking manoeuvres.
Prior to the collision, Wilkinson’s Volkswagen Bora crossed the double white lines near the Dubwath junction, placing the car on the wrong side of the road immediately before the collision.
Mr Bennell was taken from the scene to hospital but subsequently died at the Royal Victoria Infirmary at Newcastle on 1 May 2016.
Wilkinson also spent six days in hospital following the collision.
Subsequent work by a collision investigator showed the Volkswagen Bora was “without question” on the opposite carriageway, with its wheels wholly over the central dividing line at the point of impact.
In his police interview Wilkinson denied this was the case, even after he was shown dash cam footage from a third vehicle which partially recorded the incident.
He told officers: “My wheels did not cross the double white lines.”
However, at court, Wilkinson was found guilty of death by dangerous driving.
Sergeant Lee Hill of Cumbria Constabulary’s Mobile Support Group said: “This was a tragic incident which could easily have been avoided but for Wilkinson’s reckless driving that day.
“Wilkinson knew the route very well. It was his daily commute and in interview he said he was not hurrying to make an appointment.
“Yet he made the decision to drive in a way that put his own life and the lives of other road users at risk.
“Ultimately, Wilkinson’s decision to overtake traffic when he was unsighted, carrying out a manoeuvre which, from the road markings, he would have known was clearly prohibited, has cost Mr Bennell his life.”
Wilkinson was also sentenced for possession of extreme pornographic material after a search on his phone following the collision uncovered extreme videos involving animals.
Wilkinson told the officers he had been sent the videos via the mobile phone messaging service WhatsApp.
He was sentenced to six months in prison for this offence, which will run concurrently.