Navy man jailed over death crash

By Rhiannon Beacham,Press Association
Monday 23 February 2009 16:02

A Royal Navy engineer was jailed for three years today for causing the death of a 53-year-old woman by dangerous driving.

Colin Edward Sharratt was driving his Subaru Impreza estate car on the A465 Heads of the Valley road near Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales, when he lost control of the vehicle.

The car spun into the path of a Vauxhall Astra, killing driver Patricia Jones instantly. Her passengers, son Paul Jones and son-in-law Gavin Davies, survived the impact.

Sharratt, 25, of Wern Terrace, Port Tennant, Swansea, was also banned from driving for five years.

Mrs Jones's son, who suffered eight fractured ribs and a broken leg in the crash, said he was "very upset" at the sentence.

Sharratt was convicted by a jury at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court last month.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Jones said: "We are very upset with today's sentence. He was found guilty and given three years and he will be out in half (that time).

"I think they were quite lenient on him."

Sentencing Sharratt, Judge John Curran said: "As a result of your bad driving, Mrs Patricia Jones, a mother and grandmother who had been driving carefully and blamelessly, was killed.

"Her son Paul Jones, a front seat passenger, sustained serious injuries."

The judge said Mr Jones had been told by doctors at the hospital that treated him that had he been a smaller man he may well not have survived.

He said that no sentence could ever help the grief, devastation and loss felt by Mrs Jones' family.

"Mrs Jones had taken care to moderate her speed to no more than 40mph to take account of the road conditions.

"There was rain and a great deal of spray being kicked up by passing vehicles and visible surface water on the road."

Sharratt, he said, was driving home from Portsmouth on leave and impatient to get home to his family.

The judge said it would never be known exactly how fast he was driving, but said: "I think you yourself came close to blurting out the truth when you told the police officer 70 to 75mph.

The speed limit on the road is 60mph.

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