'You stole my husband' - wife's courtroom message to lorry driver
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
A heartbroken wife faced her husband's lorry driver killer across a courtroom and delivered a stark message - "you stole him from us".
Mum-of-two Tosin Loades read out a harrowing statement as Paul Eadle was sentenced for causing the death by careless driving of Rikki Loades, 31.
Mr Loades and another driver had stopped next to the A11 near Wymondham after they were involved in a crash with a deer.
Norwich Crown Court heard they were examining the damage when Mr Loades was struck by a lorry being driven by Eadle.
Mr Loades, of Colossus Way, Costessey, was propelled into the other motorist who had stopped.
The court heard the father of two died at the scene of the crash on April 29 2019.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Eadle, 50, “accepts he made no attempt to slow down”.
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He said he had the opportunity to slow down or react to the situation ahead of him and “being an experienced LGV driver, should’ve done that but didn’t do that until it was too late”.
Eadle, of Sycamore Avenue, Wymondham, appeared in court for sentence on Thursday after he previously admitted causing death by careless driving.
Before he was sentenced, Mr Loades’ wife Tosin read out a victim impact statement describing how her husband’s death had “ripped a gaping hole in our lives”.
She said the defendant would “go on with your life” and “might even forget” but insisted she and her family would “never have that luxury”.
She said her two children would “never know what an amazing person their father was”.
Mrs Loades said she had lost count of the times her daughter had screamed at her to “bring her dad back” but admitted it “kills me” there’s “nothing I can do”.
She said Eadle “stole” her children’s father from them.
Mrs Loades said: “My heart hurts and there’s nothing that can be done to fix it.
“Rikki was a good man, a great one in fact. He deserves to be here, he deserves to grow old with the warmth and love of his family.”
Mrs Loades told Eadle the screams of her husband's mother would “haunt me for the rest of my life - and that’s your doing”.
She said they had been together since they were 18 and “planned to spend the rest of our lives together but now, I’m alone".
She said she would feel his loss “from this day until eternity”.
There was also an impact statement from the other motorist who received a number of injuries, including a dislocated shoulder, after being struck by Mr Loades.
She also described how she suffered psychological and emotional trauma as a result of the incident.
Judge Maureen Bacon said no sentence she could impose could ever bring back Mr Loades or make up for the “terrible events”.
She described Eadle as an experienced LGV driver and said: “You should’ve slowed down until you could see what that hazard was and given yourself time to react.”
She said it was “more than a momentary lapse” but was “not such bad driving as to amount to dangerous driving”.
She said the defendant, a man of previous good character with no convictions, suffered from anxiety and had been diagnosed with PTSD in the wake of the crash.
Giving him credit for his plea she said others, including his 11-year-old son who had difficulties, would suffer as a result of him going immediately to prison.
He was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.
Ian Bridge, mitigating for Eadle, said: "There’s nothing he can say, he feels utterly devastated."
Mr Bridge said his client “knows he’s taken a life and he’s not the kind of man who can get over that”.
He added it was not a case of “prolonged bad driving” but rather failing to respond to the hazard ahead.