Lincolnshire death crash police inspector spared jail

Image caption, Stubbs had not been speeding or drinking at the time of the crash, the court was told

An off-duty Lincolnshire police inspector who crashed into a parked car killing a 49-year-old man has been given a suspended jail term.

John Williamson, from Bassingham Road in Aubourn, died when he was hit by Paul Stubbs' car in Burton, near Lincoln, on 1 November 2009.

Stubbs, 35, of Bawtry, was convicted last month of careless driving.

He was given a 36-week sentence, suspended for two years at Nottingham Crown Court.

The judge also ordered Stubbs to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and disqualified him from driving for three years.

'Tragic consequences'

Stubbs had been cleared of causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard the crash was witnessed by Mr Williamson's 22-year-old son Ben and his girlfriend Sunisa Bunthao.

Recorder Mark Wall QC told Stubbs it was a case of "inadvertance with tragic consequences".

He said: "What you did, in effect, was to fail to pay proper attention to the road ahead of you.

"Had you done so you would doubtless have seen Mr Williamson's car, been able to take evasive action and avoided hitting both the car and Mr Williamson himself."

The court heard that Stubbs had not been speeding or drinking, and had not been using a mobile phone.

Career in doubt

The judge said: "In my judgment this is an offence so serious that only custody for it can be justified, but in the circumstances that will be suspended for two years.

"I can't say what effect that will have on your future in the police force; that is for others to judge at a later date."

Prosecutor Richard Thatcher said Mr Williamson's wife, Wendy, had said she was distressed at how he had been taken from her.

"My life has changed dramatically", Mrs Williamson said. "I'm having trouble coping without him and life is very hard.

"I didn't even have chance to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved him."

The court heard Stubbs had not driven since the crash and was receiving counselling.

Lincolnshire police said a misconduct hearing to consider Stubbs' future as a police officer would be held as soon as possible.

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