Driver killed three while looking for mint

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The Independent Online

A university lecturer was warned to prepare for jail yesterday after a court convicted him of causing the death of three people, including a pregnant woman, as he fumbled for a mint while driving down the M1.

Dr Thomas Munch-Petersen, 52, lost control of his car while groping in the pocket of a jacket draped over the passenger seat. The accident was caught on camera by an engineer filming the road in April last year.

At Derby Crown Court, the victims' relatives watched the footage, which showed Dr Munch-Petersen reach for the sweets. As he took his eyes off the road his Volvo swerved into the slow lane, hitting a lorry which crashed through the central reservation into the path of oncoming traffic – taking his car with it.

Darren Kempton, 32, and his girlfriend Jenny Lancaster, 25, who was five months' pregnant, died when their Alfa Romeo hit the lorry near Pinxton, Derbyshire, as did Martin Parker, 44, in an Audi A4.

Dr Munch-Petersen, of East Twickenham, Middlesex, admitted careless driving but was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, a charge he denied.

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