Lorry driver was shopping on Amazon as he ran red light and killed army veteran in crash

A lorry driver was using his phone to shop on Amazon when he ploughed through a red light and killed a man. Florin Solomon, 29, accessed his Amazon account during his journey, including when travelling towards traffic lights on the A580 East Lancashire Road in Leigh on January 21. His Scania HGV hit the side of a Toyota Corolla driven by MBE army veteran Mark Byrne, 58, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Byrne's wife, Julie, 56, was seriously injured in the crash and suffered a fractured sternum and extensive bruising.

East Lancashire Road in Leigh

The couple, from Warrington, were returning home from a hospital appointment at the time of the collision. Solomon was jailed on Monday for four and half years after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving. Initially he told police he went through the lights on amber, and that Mr Byrne turned into his path at the junction of Atherleigh Way.

However footage of the accident later showed the lights were red for at least eight seconds before the collision, and Mr Byrne had driven in a perfectly lawful manner, Manchester Crown Court heard.

General View Manchester Crown Court Crown Square Manchester

Analysis of Solomon's phone by investigators also disproved his claim he had placed an order on Amazon when stopped at a junction. Prosecutor David Lees said: "It is the Crown's case that had the defendant been concentrating on the road the collision would have been avoided." Mr Byrne received his MBE in 2003 for his armed service and his 10 years of charitable work for children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

He worked in Whitehall as a private soldier before he was posted to Germany in the 1990s, and later returned to the country as a civil servant for the Ministry of Defence.

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The court heard the father-of-three and grandfather had planned to foster children with his wife as part of their retirement before tragedy struck. In a victim personal statement Mrs Byrne said she had lost her "soul mate" and that "getting through each day is a task" as she still suffers physical pain and nightmares. Sentencing, Judge Graeme Smith told Solomon: "It has been accepted that it was your stupidity and recklessness that led to the accident."

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Rebecca Caulfield, defending, said her client was "distraught" and "full of remorse".

She said: "He is still a young man, On release he can still make a positive contribution to society and is unlikely to be seen before the courts again."

Solomon, of Lansdowne Walk, Worcester, was also disqualified from driving for five years and 11 months and must pass an extended retest before he can be allowed back on the road.

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