Killer HGV driver Rajesh Patel jailed for just A YEAR for dad-of 11 Nigel Blount’s death

A SUTTON Coldfield lorry driver who gave another trucker no chance to avoid a collision after ploughing into the back of a broken-down wagon has been jailed – for just a year. Rajesh Patel had been convicted of causing the death of Derby father-of-11 Nigel Blount by driving his Mercedes artic dangerously on the A46 near Coventry in March last year. Patel, aged 54, of Hartopp, Sutton Coldfield, denied the charge but was found guilty at Warwick Crown Court earlier this month, was also banned from driving for two-and-a-half years.

Rejecting a suspended sentence, Judge Stephen Eyre QC told Patel: “I cannot escape the fact that I have to sentence you for dangerous driving in a heavy goods vehicle, at speed on a busy road, in circumstances where you driving caused a death.” Prosecutor Walter Bealby had told the jury that a Volvo truck carrying a full load of chopped iron and steel had broken down on the A46 Eastern by-pass on the outskirts of Coventry. Driver Andrew Jones pulled over as far as he could but, with no hard shoulder, the offside of the truck was jutting out into the nearside lane of the dual carriageway.

As he waited for assistance, with hazard warning lights on and clearly visible on a straight stretch of road, there was ‘an almighty crash,’ and he was thrown out of the cab. Patel’s Mercedes truck had crashed into the back of his Volvo, and a MAN lorry being driven by 62-year-old Mr Blount had crashed into the back of the Mercedes. Mr Blount, from Sunnyhill, Derby, was trapped for an hour before being cut free by a fire crew and rushed to hospital with serious trauma injuries, including fractured ribs and vertebrae.

He died in hospital five weeks later from an infection, and consultant neuro-pathologist Professor Safa Al-Sarraj said the spinal trauma injuries he had suffered in the crash were ‘a major contribution to his death’. Patel and Mr Jones went to hospital in a second ambulance – and during the journey, when a medic asked whether he was on any medication, Patel said he had been putting some eye drops in. But in his evidence Patel said that was a reference to medication in general, not that he was doing so at the time.

READ MORE: Dangerous Sutton Coldfield lorry driver Rajesh Patel convicted of killing dad-of-11 Nigel Blount
[1] Of the crash, Mr Bealby said: “The defendant failed completely to see the parked Volvo, and simply ploughed into it. Mr Blount had no chance to stop.

The Mercedes came to an almost instantaneous stop in front of him.” At the resumed hearing, following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on Patel, his barrister David Bright said: “This man did not set out that day to commit a crime. “It is possible to look at this as involving only a momentary lapse of concentration, a serious one, but it is not a case where he has been driving dangerously for a long period.”

Arguing for a suspended sentence, Mr Bright continued: “He has been living with this now for one-and-three-quarter years. That is grave punishment, and it’s not going to go away. “How’s the public interest met by sending this particular driver to prison?

It would serve no purpose. He is suffering now from the knowledge that his action has led to someone’s death. “One matter that needs to be mentioned is that the deceased was a contributory factor by driving so very close behind the defendant’s vehicle.

It doesn’t sound attractive, because he’s dead, but it is a factor.” But Judge Eyre interjected: “That is not my understanding of the evidence. Mr Blount was indeed close behind, but that meant his view of the hazard lights was obscured.

He could have stopped in the normal circumstances of the road, but not otherwise.” Jailing Patel, the judge told him: “On the March 5, 2015 you were driving a heavy goods vehicle on the busy A46. “You were driving at speed, not grossly excessive speed, but at speed in a heavy goods vehicle.

It was important for you to take proper care in such circumstances because, if you did not, there would be grave consequences.” Judge Eyre said: “Nigel Blount was a good and decent man. He had shown love and care to others by fostering over a period of 20 years and adopting five of those who had been in his care.

“He has left a real legacy of achievement, and will be remembered by many with love and gratitude.” Of the crash, the judge told Patel: “You had to respond to a dangerous situation you had not created, but other drivers kept their eyes open and were able to avoid the broken-down lorry. “It was clear from the CCTV dashcam and from the expert evidence that you failed even to begin to take evasive action until the very last moment.

It was that failure which led to Mr Blount’s death. “You are 54 and of good character, and you have made a positive contribution to the lives of others. You have been a professional driver for 22 years, driving, among others, as a driver of retained fire service vehicles.

“I have considered anxiously whether I can suspend the inevitable sentence, but I cannot escape the fact that I have to sentence you for dangerous driving in a heavy goods vehicle, at speed on a busy road, in circumstances where your dangerous driving caused a death.”

References

  1. ^ Dangerous Sutton Coldfield lorry driver Rajesh Patel convicted of killing dad-of-11 Nigel Blount (www.suttoncoldfieldobserver.co.uk)

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