Dorset

Wareham toddler crossing death lorry driver jailed

Dean Phoenix Image copyright Dorset Police
Image caption Dean Phoenix was "frustrated" when he found his lorry was blocked by a parked car, the court heard

A delivery driver who knocked down and killed a toddler on a pedestrian crossing has been jailed for a year.

And it has been revealed that when he drove his Sainsbury's lorry into Jaiden Mangan, Dean Phoenix was on licence from prison after murdering his wife.

Jaiden, aged three, died when Phoenix drove through a red light in Wareham, Dorset, on 29 March, 2018.

Phoenix, 44, had admitted at Bournemouth Crown Court to causing death by careless driving.

As the defendant was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court, Jaiden's father stormed out, shouting: "Is that it? You got a year for killing my son?"

On Thursday the jury cleared Phoenix of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

It has now emerged that Phoenix was jailed in 2004 after he murdered his wife in 2003, and was recalled to prison following the crash for breaching the terms of his licence.

The Crown Prosecution Service said he was jailed for life at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court for murdering his 26-year-old wife Naomi.

It has not been revealed when he was released. The Parole Board will consider whether Phoenix will serve an additional six months in jail for the licence breach.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Jaiden Mangan died on the eve of what would have been his fourth birthday

Jaiden was on a balance bike as he, his mother Yasmin Dougan and sister set out across North Street when Phoenix, from Chineham, Basingstoke, approached the crossing.

He told the jury he thought the lights were still green as he tried to manoeuvre around an illegally parked car on zig-zag lines next to the crossing, the court was told.

But as he reached the crossing the lights had turned red, and he admitted that in "a split-second mistake" he had failed to check them properly.

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Media captionCCTV footage shows Jaiden with his mum and sister on the pavement

Phoenix bowed his head as victim statements were read to the court.

Ms Dougan told Phoenix: "You have destroyed my life and it will never be the same."

Jaiden's father James Mangan, said his son's seven-year-old sister should not have had to "witness what she did that day".

Image copyright Lee Dolbear
Image caption Jaiden was hit by the lorry in North Street, Wareham

Paul Rogers, defending, said the car parked on the zig-zag lines had contributed to the situation.

He said the driver, Graham Booker, was "perhaps fortunate to only have been charged with careless driving himself".

Booker, 71, of North Street, Wareham, admitted motoring offences at a hearing in November. He was ordered to pay £380 and given a three-year driving ban.

Image caption Graham Booker previously admitted leaving his car parked at a pedestrian crossing

Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said he was satisfied Phoenix was remorseful.

"No sentence passed by a court can make up for the tragic consequences of that day," he said.

Phoenix was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

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