Suffolk

A14 tractor death: Driver jailed for killing man checking van

Mick Rayner Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Michael "Mick" Rayner of Ford End, near Great Dunmow, died on 20 October 2017

A tractor driver who killed a grandfather while he was checking his own van has been jailed for 38 months.

Christopher Duerden, 26, crashed his JCB into Michael Rayner, 67, on the A14 near Nacton in Suffolk in October 2017.

Mr Rayner was standing near his van with the hazard lights on and a witness said they did not understand how Duerden did not see it.

Duerden, of Bridge Street, Bungay, was jailed for 38 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Duerden had used a flight simulator app, made an internet search and watched a YouTube video between 06:30 and 06:37 BST on 20 October 2017.

But there was no evidence he was actively using his phone at the time of the crash, at about 06:42, the court was told.

'True and genuine remorse'

The court heard Mr Rayner, a grandfather-of-six from Ford End in Essex, had pulled up at the side of the road, partly on a verge, after becoming worried there was a problem with his vehicle.

He was standing next to the van, which had its hazard lights on, and his son Vincent was sitting inside.

One witness driving behind Duerden's tractor saw the hazards and moved over but said he was concerned the tractor had not switched lanes.

There was no evidence of an attempt to brake by Duerden, whose tractor was hauling a trailer and travelling at 37mph (60km/h).

Richard Dawson, mitigating, said Duerden only had a lapse in concentration for nine to 12 seconds before the collision and could not remember what he was distracted by.

Mr Dawson added Duerden had "true and genuine remorse" and was "racked with guilt".

Mr Rayner's wife of 49 years said she still had nightmares about her husband's death and the effect watching it had had on their son.

She said in a statement read out in court that at least 20 years had "been stolen from my family" by Duerden's actions.

Duerden was also disqualified from driving for four years and seven months.

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