Wife pays tribute to 'Superman' biker

The wife of motorcyclist who was killed when he and his bike was crushed by a lorry on a motorway said her husband was her ‘Superman’ and has told of her family’s devastation over his death. Alan Short, known as Andrew, was killed on the M20 near Maidstone on his way back from a trip to Europe in September last year.

Alan Andrew Short was heading home to Yorkshire when he was killed

His killer, lorry driver, Mateusz Pietrow, was jailed for two years at Maidstone Crown Court, just a matter of days ago. During highly emotional scenes, the court heard of the devastating impact Mr Short’s death has had on his family and friends.

Victim personal statements were read out on behalf of his wife Tanya and one of his two daughters, Annalise Lumley.

They spoke of a hard-working, dedicated family man who was thoughtful, kind and conscientious, and enjoyed walking, squash and motorbikes. Mrs Short said having met in 2004, they became ‘inseperable’ from their first date.

“I am very grateful to have known and been married to this remarkable man…”

They then married the same year, ‘merging’ the two families of her two sons and his two daughters from previous relationships. Mrs Short said in her impact statement: “He was a doting father and looking forward to becoming a grandfather for the first time.

“He was fiercely independent and strong. I thought he was Superman and I always felt safe.

“I miss him terribly and feel so sad. I have no anchor or sense of identity without him.

“I cannot even start to look to the future – getting through a day at a time is enough.

The emergency services at the scene of the crash last September.

Picture Highways England

“I am very grateful to have known and been married to this remarkable man.” Mrs Lumley was pregnant with her father’s first grandchild at the time he died and has since given birth to a girl. Describing him as ‘amazing’, she recalled the moment she told her father about her pregnancy.

“He was so excited and I remember it like it was yesterday. He started crying he was so happy,” wrote Mrs Lumley. Pietrow’s HGV collided with Mr Short’s Yamaha bike on the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone, causing catastrophic injuries.

The M20 barriers were installed in March last year

The 56-year-old engineer was heading home to Yorkshire from a trip around Europe with a friend when Pietrow, a Polish national trucker pulled out without indicating or checking his wing mirror or blind spot.

Having been first pushed into the barriers, Mr Short was then dragged under the lorry’s wheels. He died at the scene. The barriers had been erected in March last year along a 15-mile stretch of the M20 to deal with traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Operation Brock, created a contraflow system where the London-bound carriageway was reduced to two narrow lanes. A 50mph speed limit was also introduced. But the court heard heard Pietrow turned off his cruise control and accelerated to 55mph in his left-hand drive truck before hitting Mr Short as he changed lanes at about 1.20pm on Sunday September 22 last year.

The M20 barriers were installed in March last year

One motorist saw the danger and sounded his horn as a warning, while another later told police the lorry had performed the same manoeuvre just minutes earlier causing a car to brake sharply.

Prosecutor Daniel Stevenson said Mr Short, originally from Middlesbrough, would have been in Pietrow’s vision for at least 18.5 seconds – and possibly as long as 72 seconds – prior to the crash. However, the 31-year-old, who was heading to Northampton to deliver his load of chairs, told police he did not see the motorcyclist at all. He denied causing Mr Short’s death by careless driving, but was convicted by a jury of seven men and five women after they deliberated for around about two hours.

Passing sentence, Judge Adele Williams told Pietrow he had been found guilty on “clear and compelling” evidence, and that his driving fell “just short” of being dangerous.

“It was not a momentary lapse of concentration. There was a period of bad driving…”

“Your failure to pay proper care and attention to your driving led to these tragic and devastating consequences,” she said. “It was not a momentary lapse of concentration.

There was a period of bad driving.” “Nothing that I say nor any sentence that I can pass can in any way assuage that loss and grief, nor is it in any way designed to put a value on his life. It cannot possibly do so.”

Pietrow, who lives with his fiancee and their child in Poland and had been a lorry driver for five years, was also banned from the road for four years. The maximum jail term for causing death by careless driving is five years. Operation Brock was stood down the month after Mr Short’s death but the barriers remained in place until the end of January.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates’ courts across the county, click here

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