Kent

Dartford Crossing death crash lorry driver watching TV

Viorel Sandulache Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Viorel Sandulache has been jailed for nine years

A lorry driver who was watching a TV programme while driving has been found guilty of killing a woman in a crash.

Viorel Sandulache, 26, hit 21-year-old Abigail Harvey's Audi on the Dartford Crossing in Kent on 3 November 2017.

He had admitted "listening to" a TV series on his phone, but the judge said she was sure he was watching it.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison after jurors at Maidstone Crown Court found him guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

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Media captionViorel Sandulache said he was looking at his speedometer and not his phone

Sandulache, of Grays, Essex, had previously told the court he was not watching the TV show and footage from a dashcam showing him glancing down was because he was "looking at the speedometer".

Jurors heard he had twice been caught using his phone while driving and had 12 penalty points on his licence before the crash.

He had been allowed by magistrates to continue driving due to extreme hardship.

Judge Adele Williams said: "I am sure you were watching a TV programme on your mobile phone. That was grossly irresponsible behaviour.

"You did not have your eyes on the road, you were paying insufficient attention... and by the time you saw Abigail's vehicle it was too late."

She did accept he expressed "genuine remorse".

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Abigail Harvey died in hospital three days after the crash

In a victim impact statement read to court her mother, Amanda Harvey, said: "Our lives have been brutally and senselessly changed for ever.

"One of my children has been stolen. All I have to hold now is the wooden box containing her ashes."

The court heard her organs were donated, because that is what she would have wanted.

Her father Laurence Harvey said: "It's a dad's job to save her from harm, and everything which could harm her.

"I feel as though I've failed her."

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