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Lorry driver jailed as family pay tribute to Tiptree tractor driver Philip Gunfield

19:34 09 February 2017

Matt Stott[1]

Philip Gunfield pictured with his granddaughter Evie. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Philip Gunfield pictured with his granddaughter Evie. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

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A lorry driver has been jailed after a Tiptree tractor driver was killed in a road crash.

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Christopher Simmons. Picture: ESSEX POLICEChristopher Simmons.

Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Christopher Simmons was overtaking traffic in his truck on the London-bound side of the A13 Pitsea[2] flyover when he pulled into a lane and collided with the rear of Philip Gunfield’s tractor. Mr Gunfield, 68, of Downton Walk, was thrown from the tractor, which was pushed across the central reservation barrier and into the side of a Citroen Dispatch van. He suffered multiple injuries and died shortly after being airlifted to the Royal London Hospital.

The crash took place on September 21, 2015. The Citroen driver was knocked unconscious and suffered minor injuries. Simmons, 64, of Maden Close in Bacup, Lancashire, suffered minor injuries.

He was charged with causing death by dangerous driving. He pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court on January 12, 2017 and was sentenced today. He was jailed for two-and-a-half years and banned from driving for four-and-a-half years.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Gunfield’s family said: “Words cannot express the heartache caused by the tragedy of Phil’s death; the circumstances make it so much harder. “He was a loving family man, kind and caring. He is dearly treasured and will be missed by many.

“Phil worked and loved the countryside all his life. “Quite often the things we feel so deeply are the hardest things to say. After the conclusion from today, we hope, as a strong family unit, we will be able to move on as Phil will always live on in our hearts and our memories.”

Mr Gunfield was a former farm manager and worked at Abbotts Hall Farm from 1974 until 2012, staying at the site when it was taken over by Essex Wildlife Trust in 1999. He continued to do some farm work after his retirement. Investigating officer Pc Jenny Pirie said after the hearing: “The lack of attention Simmons showed behind the wheel led to Mr Gunfield losing his life, and both families are going to have to live with the consequences of this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

“Myself and family liaison officer Pc Nigel Taplin thank Mr Gunfield’s family for their support throughout the investigation and court case.”

References

  1. ^ Matt Stott (www.eadt.co.uk)
  2. ^ Christopher Simmons was overtaking traffic in his truck on the London-bound side of the A13 Pitsea (twitter.com)

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