A LORRY driver who used his mobile telephone while behind the wheel has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for causing death by dangerous driving.
William Galbraith, 48, was driving a DAF heavy goods vehicle on the A45 near Great Doddington on December 2, 2010, when he hit Robert Knight’s stationary Suzuki Jimny.
Mr Knight, 77, of Cogenhoe, was known as Big Bob and was a former landlord of The Nags Head pub in Wollaston.
He was declared dead at the scene.
A jury found Galbraith guilty at Northampton Crown Court yesterday after hearing from witnesses that he had made little attempt to brake or avoid the car, and hearing evidence of his mobile phone records, which showed he had sent and received text messages in the minutes before the crash.
After the verdict the court was told Galbraith had a string of motoring convictions, including one for driving through a red light in his lorry and hitting a car in 2007.
Mr Knight’s son Anthony, of Great Doddington, said family and friends were relieved at the end of their 14-month ordeal.
Anthony, 53, said: “It’s what we wanted – it’s another piece of the jigsaw and a bit more closure.
“It’s a long time to have waited, it’s dragged on and on, but only because he was a liar and kept pleading not guilty.
“It’s hard for us as it happened locally – we have to go past where the accident happened every day and it brings it all back to you.
“You would hope people would learn from their mistakes – all that man had to do was drive sensibly.
“I’m just glad that in the end it was proven that he was guilty.”
Mr Knight said he wanted to thank everybody who had given the family their support.
Judge Richard Bray also banned Galbraith, of Stone, Staffordshire, from driving for six years.
Mr Bray, sentencing, said: “This is a tragic case where the life of a much-loved man has been taken.
“You drove straight into the back of the stationary vehicle without any significant braking or avoiding action.
“Every other vehicle on the road was able to take avoiding action without any difficulty.
“The reason for your inattention can only be because you were not paying proper attention to the road because of your use of a mobile phone.”