Wellingborough widow heartbroken after speeding driver killed her soulmate

He sobbed in the dock as he was jailed

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 2:38 pm

A speeding driver wrote to a Wellingborough widow to tell her how "deeply sorry" he is for killing her soulmate in front of her eyes.

Lovaine Donaldson, known as Luffy, had only celebrated his 74th birthday the day before he was mown down in front of his heartbroken wife by BMW driver Isaiah Pink.

Pink overtook a van before fatally hitting Luffy as he attempted to cross Sywell Road in Wellingborough with his wife Angela, robbing them of their retirement years together.

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Isaiah Pink.

A warning sign which should have illuminated to tell him pedestrians were crossing failed to do so because its sensors had been stolen and not been replaced.

Yesterday (Thursday) the 54-year-old, who was travelling at about 64mph in a 40mph zone, sobbed as he was jailed for 33 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Northampton Crown Court heard the devastating sequence of events which led to the fatal crash on the dark morning of January 8 last year.

It was about 6.30am when Luffy and Angela were walking on the pavement in a route they took about four times a week, near the town's Park Farm Industrial Estate.

The couple saw a red Combi van travelling towards them, between 200 and 300 yards away, and Angela began to cross the road followed by Luffy.

Prosecuting, Barnaby Shaw said: "What Mrs Donaldson could not have known was that there was another vehicle behind the van, a white BMW 5 Series."

That vehicle was being driven by Pink, who was on his way to his home in Earls Barton Road in Mears Ashby after collecting his car.

The court heard the van driver indicated to pull in left and Pink overtook at speed, pulling back onto the correct side of the road before just missing Angela and hitting Luffy.

Mr Shaw said Angela heard a "thump" and turned to see her husband motionless on the ground, some 47m away having been thrown in the air by the BMW.

Pink got out of his car and said: "I didn't see him, I didn't see him. Where did he come from?"

Others stopped and performed CPR but paramedics declared Luffy dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination found he had died as a result of head, neck, chest and pelvic injuries.

A forensic collision investigator examined the crash site, which had traffic calming measures in place, and found Pink had been driving about 24mph over the limit at an "inappropriate" speed. CCTV had also showed he hadn't braked prior to the crash.

When Pink was interviewed by police he said: "I've killed somebody and his wife saw."

Officers asked him what happened and Pink replied: "I want to tell you but I have been advised not to."

Pink, who the court heard was an experienced, professional driver, later disputed that he was driving at 64mph as he "could not see how he would have got to that speed".

He was offered the chance to watch CCTV footage of the incident but declined.

The court heard Angela and Luffy had been together since 1972 and had only spent one night apart since.

Reading a victim impact statement from Angela, who watched proceedings from the public gallery, Mr Shaw said: "He was my soulmate and best friend. We did everything together."

The couple enjoyed going to football and cricket matches together and Luffy had only been retired for two years when he died.

Angela said she felt "robbed" of their retirement years together.

In her statement the heartbroken widow said: "This has left me with memories of my husband lying on the floor in the condition that he was...my last memory of my soulmate who was also my world."

Mitigating, Patrick Harte said Pink had written a letter to Angela to tell her how truly and deeply sorry he was "from the bottom of his heart".

He said: "He wishes he could turn the clock back.

"There's nothing he can do to do that."

One character reference described Pink as a broken man since the incident.

Sentencing, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo said no sentence he passed could bring Luffy back and that it was a case with no winners, "only losers".

He told Pink he would spend half of his 33-month sentence in custody before he would be released on licence.

He said: "Don't leave this court with the idea that I'm sentencing you for a momentary lack of attention or momentary carelessness Mr Pink.

"It was a great deal more than that."

Pink waved goodbye to a family member who supported him in the public gallery before he was led to the cells.

He was also banned from driving for 24 months, which will start when he is released from prison, and will have to take an extended re-test.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing lead investigator, Detective Constable Janette Maitland, said: “Luffy Donaldson and his wife Angela had one of those exceptionally special relationships where, even after 46 years, they were still very much in love and spent every minute together.

“The pain Angela feels at her husband’s passing therefore cannot be put into words.

“There are no winners in a case like this and there is no sentence in this world that can make up for the loss of Luffy.

“I am glad that Isaiah Pink pleaded guilty to the offence and that Angela can now move forward from the court process. My thoughts will be with her long into the future.”