A RUGBY club captain whose dangerous driving killed another motorist in a head-on road crash near Cockermouth has been jailed for two years.
Shaun David Murphy, 29, was travelling uphill in fifth gear on the A594 towards Maryport when he pulled out to overtake a lorry in darkness on the evening of January 29 last year.
Carlisle Crown Court heard Murphy’s Ford Mondeo crossed double white lines approaching the crest of a hill and a blind left hand. At around 36mph he crashed head-on into takeaway delivery man Terry Meddings’ oncoming Nissan Micra.
Mr Meddings, a 67-year-old married father and grandfather from Cockermouth, suffered fatal injuries. Murphy’s passenger, 19-year-old Elliot Tomlinson, sustained a fractured forearm.
Murphy – skipper of Workington Zebras rugby union club – was sentenced today (THURS) having admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.
Murphy was travelling behind a HGV on a single carriageway road with traffic separated by double white lines when he attempted an overtake, heading towards the crest of a hill.
Heading in the opposite direction was a Nissan Micra driven by Cockermouth man Terence Meddings, 67. Mr Meddings had no chance to avoid the collision and was killed.
An eyewitness told police how Murphy’s overtake was “one of the stupidest things that I’ve ever seen done”. Mr Meddings’ family spoke of being “utterly devastated” by his loss.
Also injured was Murphy’s front-seat passenger – a teenaged boy who Murphy was caring for that day. The 17-year-old boy suffered wrist and hand fractures.
A collision investigation report found that Murphy would not have had a view of the road ahead when he commenced the manoeuvre, which should have been aborted as soon as it began.
The report also concluded that Mr Meddings would have had no time to react as he crested the hill and no chance of avoiding the collision.
In his police interview, Murphy admitted his driving leading up to the collision had fallen below that of a careful, competent driver – but denied it fell far below.
Jailing a profoundly remorseful Murphy, of Dean Street, Workington, Judge Peter Hughes QC told him: “What it was, was a gross error of judgement and one with horrendous consequences.”
Murphy must serve a three-year driving van when released, and take an extended re-test.
Cumbria Police Mobile Support Group Sergeant Claire Sampson said: “Murphy’s decision to attempt an overtake in the dark, in damp road conditions, heading towards the crest of a hill and in contravention of double-white road markings, cost Mr Medding’s his life.
“As he began the manoeuvre, Murphy would have realised he had no chance of seeing what traffic was heading in the opposite direction. Yet, for reasons only he can explain, he decided to continue the overtake – with tragic consequences.
“Our thoughts today are with the family of Mr Meddings.”