Death driver displayed criminal lunacy'

A driver whose “wanton criminal lunacy” behind the wheel of a BMW car claimed the life of a father-of-four was last night starting a five-year jail term.

A driver whose “wanton criminal lunacy” behind the wheel of a BMW car claimed the life of a father-of-four was last night starting a five-year jail term.

Despite freezing weather conditions, Sergejs Sidorovs , from Latvia, overtook a line of traffic on the A10 at Fordham, near Downham Market, at speeds reaching 90mph - before colliding head-on with an oncoming car.

When questioned by police about the crash - which claimed the life of 50-year-old Graham Muth - Sidorovs blamed the other motorist for not getting out of the way.

But yesterday at Norwich Crown Court, Sidorovs, 24, admitted causing Mr Muth's death by dangerous driving on February 6 this year.

Jailing him for five years, Judge Peter Jacobs said Sidorovs had shown a disregard for the life of

Mr Muth, of Magdalen, near King's Lynn, and the lives of four women who were passengers in the Latvian's car and survived.

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“Your driving was aggressive and was an act of wanton criminal lunacy,” the judge said.

“The unfortunate Mr Muth was a delightful family man with a wife and loving happy family which is devastated and will never see him again.

“You destroyed someone's life, and another aggravating feature is that in your interview you blamed the other driver for not getting out of the way. At least you have taken advice and pleaded guilty.

“As far as I am concerned this is only one category down from the top of the most serious type of such offences.

“I sincerely hope you do not remain here. If you do you will have to take an extended test before you can drive in this country again. Your licence will also be endorsed.”

The judge also banned Sidorovs, of Valingers Road, King's Lynn, from driving for five years.

Earlier in the court hearing, Douglas Mackay, prosecuting, had told how Sidorovs had passed his driving test in Latvia in August last year and came to the UK on October 9. Other motorists had witnessed Sidorovs driving erratically and at speed shortly before the accident at 6.10am on February 6.

Mr Mackay read a statement from Mr Muth's widow, which told of her distress at losing her husband and how Mr Muth's daughters would not have their father to give them away at their weddings.

Mrs Muth added that they had been a very happy family and there were seven grandchildren who would no longer see him.

But Mr Mackay said that when interviewed by police after the crash, Sidorovs said: “I cannot accept fully for the accident as the other car driver did not do anything to avoid me. I managed to brake and tried to avoid a collision. I turned to the side of the road and he did the same.”

Asked whether he thought his driving was dangerous he replied: “I don't think so. I don't accept full responsibility.”

But Alison Ginn, for Sidorovs, said that he was now “well aware” of his responsibility for the crash.

“Nothing he can do can undo what has happened or stop the anguish his family has endured,” she said.

“He has not been sleeping or eating properly and is remorseful and accepts full responsibility for what happened and that it was only his fault,” she said.

She added that he was of previous good character and had come to England to work to send money back to help his family. His father had recently died.

After the hearing, Insp Julian Moulton of Norfolk police, said: “My heartfelt condolences go to Mrs Muth and her family following this tragic loss.

“There are, of course, no winners in this case. Mrs Muth may draw some comfort from the sentence passed, although this I am sure will not ease the pain and loss she and her family will be feeling at this time.”

“We hope that this successful prosecution sends a clear message

to all motorists that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.”