Norfolk farmer Henry Bett loses appeal over jail term for crash which killed mother-of-four

PUBLISHED: 16:34 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:34 14 November 2017

Henry Bett. Picture: Ian Burt

Henry Bett. Picture: Ian Burt

A tractor driver who caused the death of a ‘much-loved’ mother-of-four in a head-on crash has failed to get his jail term cut on appeal.

Henry Bett, 29, of Ling Farm Cottages in Thornham, west Norfolk, was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Cambridge Crown Court after a five-day trial in June.

He was convicted of causing the death of Rebecca Brown, 43, of Castle Acre, by dangerous driving.

He was driving a tractor on West Acre Road, in Castle Acre, on December 4, 2014, when his tractor was in a head-on crash with Mrs Brown, crushing the driver’s side of her Fiat Ulysse people carrier.

The tractor was encroaching onto the wrong side of the road, Mr Justice Teare told London’s Appeal Court today.

Bett was amongst those who tried to give CPR to Mrs Brown before paramedics arrived, but efforts to resuscitate her failed and she died at the scene.

The judge who jailed Bett described Mrs Brown, who was a primary school dinner lady, as a “much-loved mother, wife and daughter”.

The lives of her family and loved ones “would never be the same again”, he said and added: “In circumstances of excellent visibility, Bett was driving too fast and failed to keep a proper look out.”

His victim, whose son Thomas was also in the people carrier, had been driving ‘carefully and sensibly’.

Bett had three speeding offences on his driving record, the Appeal Court heard today.

But William Harbage QC, for Bett, argued his jail term was far too tough and should be reduced.

He pointed to his responsible actions at the crash scene and his previous good character.

Mr Justice Teare said: “We have carefully considered whether the mitigation merits a greater reduction than that allowed by the judge, but have concluded it does not.

“The appeal must therefore be dismissed,” ruled the judge, who was sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb.

Bett, who is the son of former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett, was originally jailed for the same crime in 2015, but his conviction was later quashed leading to a retrial.

Time spent in custody after his first conviction will count towards his current jail term.

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