Wimbotsham family call for tougher penalties after road collision on A149

Matthew Thompson with his children, Maddie and Josh Matthew Thompson with his children, Maddie and Josh

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
8:54 AM

A grieving family has pledged to fight for tougher penalties for those who cause death on the roads.

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The family of Matthew Thompson, 32, who died in a road traffic collision on February 17, 2013, spoke out after attending the inquest into his death.

Father-of-two Mr Thompson from Westway, Wimbotsham, died on February 17, 2013, after his motorcycle was involved with in a collision with a car on the A149 at Castle Rising at around 3.10pm.

Maureen Haller, 59, of Langland, King’s Lynn, was later disqualified from driving for two years, after pleading guilty to death by careless driving.

In a statement after the inquest, Mr Thompson’s family said: “Matthew was a loving, kind and caring husband, son and brother and was a doting and adored daddy. He was an extremely popular person and well known local builder. We are all devastated by his death and are trying to come to terms with it.

“As a family, we believe the minimum sentence for anyone found guilty of a death by driving offence should be a mandatory minimum two year disqualification period plus a full retest and a driver’s awareness course.

“We have started a paper petition, Justice for Matthew Thompson in an attempt to change the legislation and save other families from enduring the heartache we have suffered during the past 18 months.”

The inquest heard the fatal crash happened on the afternoon of Saturday, February 16, 2013, when Mrs Haller’s black Audi had collided with a motorbike being driven by Mr Thompson.

Mr Thompson died from his injuries the next day at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

In a statement read out in court, wife Leanne Thompson said that she and their two children, Maddie, 11 and Josh, 9, were “struggling to cope without him”, adding: “He made us, us. We met when we were 15 and was inseparable.”

Mrs Haller, a retired midwife, told the court that on the day of the accident that she was on her way back from having beauty treatments.

She said: “As I came up to the junction, I looked left and right and felt it was safe to proceed to turn right. That as much as I can tell you. I then heard an almighty bang and smelt burning and thought it was a bomb.”

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake asked Mrs Haller if she had been using a mobile phone.

Mrs Haller replied: “No, it was in my bag. I was concentrating.”

Mrs Lake then asked her if she would like to add anything to which a visibly shaken Mrs Haller replied: “Just how sorry I am.”

Witness Martin Wright, a driving instructor who was heading towards Hunstanton with a student, said that Mr Thompson had overtaken him at “In excess of 60mph.”

However another witness, John Daniels, a taxi driver said that he saw Mr Thompson travelling in a “safe manner.”

PC Graeame Brookes from Norfolk Police said that the both vehicles had no faults.

But he said that the view could of been obscured to Mrs Haller by other cars going down the slip road prior to her pulling out.

After summarising the evidence, Mrs Lake gave concluded that Mr Thompson’s death was caused by a road traffic collision.

She thanked the witnesses and offered her condolences to the family.

The family have created a Facebook page for their campaign and an online petition.

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