Man who killed his son in crash while speeding weeps as he avoids jail
Father who killed his 12-year-old son in crash while speeding on an ‘uneven’ road weeps as he avoids jail for dangerous driving after his wife urged judge not to send him to prison
- Paul Vines, 47, was given a suspended sentence for causing the death of his son
- Wife Sarah Vines begged judge to not jail him so he can care for their children
A father who caused the death of his 12-year-old son in a crash on an ‘uneven’ road walked free from court today – after the boy’s mother urged a judge not to jail him.
Paul Vines, 47, was said to have been speeding on an undulating B-road with a 60mph limit and had failed to observe signs warning of the uneven surface. The speed limit was reduced to 40mph following the death of son Ted, the court heard.
The schoolboy died of head injury after Vines’ Ford Galaxy left the road after colliding with a Mercedes and landed in a ditch at Bardney, Lincolnshire. The court heard a passenger in the Mercedes A220 suffered life-changing injuries to her spine and ankle but also joined bereaved Sarah Vines in pleading for her husband to be spared prison.
Mrs Vines fought back tears as she read out her own victim impact statement in court room number one at Lincoln Crown Court.
Mrs Vines urged the sentencing judge not to jail her husband because of the emotional and physical support he provided to her and their three surviving children.
Paul Vines, 47, walked free from court after causing the death of his 12-year-old son Ted (pictured)
Paul Vines, 47, was said to have been speeding on a long straight section of a B-road with a 60mph limit known locally as Bardney causeway (pictured)
‘Nobody and no one will ever be able to hurt me more than the death of my darling Teddy other than to watch what my beautiful three children are going through,’ Mrs Vines told the court.
The wife and mother said she had spent 25 years building their family with her husband and added: ‘Paul is a very hands-on dad who has never been away from his children for more than one night.
‘I know he is truly sorry for what happened. I know he will never be able to forgive himself.’
Mrs Vines also read out a moving tribute to her son.
‘Ted was truly remarkable,’ Mrs Vines, 43, said. ‘It is difficult to put into words how much brilliance shone from one small child.’
Mrs Vines plea was also supported by the headteachers of the two schools attended by the family’s other children, and Victoria Frost, the injured passenger in the Mercedes.
Prosecutor Stuart Lody told the court: ‘She (Mrs Frost) does not want Mr Vines to go to prison.’
A victim impact statement from Mrs Frost was also read out in court in which she added: ‘I want Mr Vines to know everyone makes mistakes in life, and there is no hate to him, and my thoughts have been with his family through all of this.’
Mrs Vines fought back tears as she read out her own victim impact statement in court room number one at Lincoln Crown Court (pictured)
The court heard she was returning home from a family swimming trip with husband William, who was driving, and their four-year-old daughter when the collision occurred in January last year.
Mr Frost described seeing all four wheels of the Galaxy leaving the road before striking his Mercedes.
At the scene Mr Vines said: ‘I lost control on the bumps. I came over the hill and lost control. I don’t think I was driving too fast.’
Other motorists estimated Mr Vines was speeding at between 70-80mph as he drove his son to a football match, but his speed could not be calculated.
The section of the B1190 where the accident occurred is a long straight section of road with dykes on both sides and is known locally as Bardney causeway.
Vines of Alford, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to causing his son’s death by dangerous driving. He also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving to Mrs Frost.
Mr Lody said the Vines were travelling to a football match in the nearby village of Nocton when the collision occurred just before 10am.
Mr Lody said warning signs indicated the road surface was uneven and warned motorists to slow down.
‘The signs were in good repair and clearly visible,’ Mr Lody added.
During his police interview Mr Vines said he was travelling at 50mph and lost control after hitting three continuous bumps.
Following the collision Lincolnshire County Council reduced the speed limit for the road by 20mph, the court heard.
Mr Lody added: ‘As an aside one wonders why it was ever 60mph.’
Andrew Nuttall, mitigating, told the court Mr Vines took full responsibility for his actions.
Mr Nuttall said: ‘In his head he just can’t accept how he behaved in the way he did.’
Mr Nuttall also highlighted the uneven nature of the road.
‘Although it had a speed limit of 60mph, it is noteworthy the authorities reduced it straight away (following the collision) to 40mph, not 50mph.’
Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told Mr Vines he had to consider the aggravating features of Vines ‘driving and the life changing injuries to Mrs Frost.
‘It appears you were driving in excess of the speed limit. Whether that is right or not, what is right is that you were driving far too fast for that road in the circumstances,’ Judge Hirst said.
‘Your car ended up in the ditch that ran alongside the causeway. Tragically Teddy, or Ted, died as a result of a head injury.’
However Judge Hirst said he had to balance those factors against Mr Vines positive driving record, his family circumstances including the impact on his wife and children if he was jailed, including the possible loss of their family home, and the gracious position taken by Mrs Frost.
‘I must bear in mind Teddy was your son and you will have to live with that every day when you see your wife and children,’ Judge Hirst told Mr Vines.
‘On balance I am just persuaded to suspend the sentences of imprisonment.’
Vines was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years for causing the death of his son, and a suspended sentence of 18 months imprisonment to run concurrently for causing serious injury to Mrs Frost.
He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community, 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days and banned from driving for two years with an automatic retest.
The Judge concluded the hearing by telling Mr Vines: ‘Had it not been for the fact that Ted was your child and the gracious position taken by Mrs Frost then it would be inevitable that you would not have been walking out of the building.’
Following Ted’s death, Lincolnshire Football Association said: ‘Our thoughts at this devastating and heartbreaking time are with the family, friends, team-mates and coaches of Ted Vines.
‘Ted was a player for Alford Town U12s, who died as a result of a road traffic accident whilst on the way to play the game he loved, something thousands do every weekend across Lincolnshire.
‘On behalf of the football family of Lincolnshire, our condolences go out to his family and friends and all at Alford Town Football Club.’
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