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Driver was speeding and uninsured when he hit rider in fatal A134 crash

PUBLISHED: 11:59 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:27 31 July 2020

Liam Aspin. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

Liam Aspin. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

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The uninsured driver of a van had been speeding when he crashed into and killed a motorcyclist after attempting to overtake a second vehicle in foggy conditions, a court has heard.

Police are trying to trace a driver after the crash  Picturee: Chris BishopPolice are trying to trace a driver after the crash Picturee: Chris Bishop

Liam Aspin, now 21, was driving a Ford Transit van on the A134 at Stradsett, near Downham Market, just after 7.30am on January 31 last year.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Aspin, whose vehicle was limited to 50mph, was travelling at about 64mph when he struck the motorcycle being ridden by 53-year-old Nigel Reynolds, known to his friends and family as Nige.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said Aspin, who was 20 at the time, had already overtaken one large goods vehicle (LGV) in foggy conditions when he attempted to pass another van.

He said the driver of the LGV, who described Aspin as a “stupid idiot”, could “see what was going to happen” as the collision occurred.

Nigel Reynolds, who died after he was involved in a  collision on the A134 at Stradsett Picture: Courtesy of the Reynolds familyNigel Reynolds, who died after he was involved in a collision on the A134 at Stradsett Picture: Courtesy of the Reynolds family

The victim, who was “unable to avoid the collision”, suffered catastrophic multiple injuries and was pronounced dead when he arrived at hospital in King’s Lynn.

A statement from the victim’s wife Lorraine was read out in court before Aspin was sentenced.

She described her husband, a huge Moto GP and Norwich City fan who had served in the RAF for 22 years, as someone who “would always do things for people”.

She said her “life has been turned upside down” and has had to learn to live her life without Nige, adding that life without him “has been so hard” and “will never be the same again”.

The scene of the fatal collision on the A134 at Stradsett  Picture: Chris BishopThe scene of the fatal collision on the A134 at Stradsett Picture: Chris Bishop

The court also heard of the devastating impact Mr Reynolds’ death has had on others around him, like his children, Chloe, Gavin and Dale.

Aspin, of The Lammas, Mundford, near Thetford, appeared in court for sentence on Thursday (July 30) having previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The defendant, who is of previous good character, struggled to contain his emotions in the dock and could be seen wiping tears away from his face, while proceedings had to be halted at least twice after he was sick during the hearing.

Sentencing Aspin to 32 months imprisonment Judge Andrew Shaw recognised the “raw emotion so keenly felt by the victim’s family” as well as the “anguish and regret so keenly felt by the defendant”.

But Judge Shaw said no sentence he passed could change the tragic consequences of that fateful morning in January last year,

Aspin was also disqualified from driving for a total of three years and four months.

What was said in mitigation?

The judge was urged not to pile one tragedy on top of another by sending a man who admitted causing death by dangerous driving immediately to prison.

Will Carter, mitigating for Aspin, said the defendant and his family were not only devastated about their position, but also for Mr Reynolds and his family.

He said Aspin was a young man of “positive good character” who had “never until this day put a foot wrong” and had believed the insurance on his father’s van extended to him.

Mr Carter said he is both “anguished and devastated at the fact he had taken a life”.

He said Aspin deserved full credit for his plea and was not someone who “in their wildest dreams” one could imagine sitting in a crown court dock awaiting sentence.

Mr Carter said imposing a sentence of immediate custody in this case would simply cause one tragedy to be piled on top of another, insisting “He (Aspin) is simply not cut out for immediate prison”.


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