Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sproughton: Jail for over two years for owner of horses which caused man’s death - second tragedy for family as man’s cousin was murdered Holly Wells

16:03 13 March 2014

Stacy Humphrys

Stacy Humphrys

Archant

A man whose horses strayed on to the A14 into the path of traffic causing the death of a 23-year-old man as he drove home to spend Christmas with his family has been jailed for 28 months.

shares
The car damaged when horses strayed onto the A14 at Sproughton on Christmas EveThe car damaged when horses strayed onto the A14 at Sproughton on Christmas Eve

Sentencing 27-year-old Stacy Humphrys, Judge John Devaux said his horses had escaped a number of times in the weeks before the tragic death of Thomas Allen and he had been warned they were a hazard.

During yesterday’s hearing it was revealed that Mr Allen’s death was the second tragedy to befall his family.

In 2002 his 10-year-old cousin Holly Wells was murdered along with her friend Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley.

Mr Allen, of Soham, near Newmarket, was driving along the westbound carriageway of the A14 at Sproughton, near Ipswich, at 10.20pm on Christmas Eve 2012 with his girlfriend when his car collided with one of five horses which had wandered on to the dual carriageway.

Thomas Allen, who died following the crash on the A14 at Sproughton.Thomas Allen, who died following the crash on the A14 at Sproughton.

He was taken to Ipswich Hospital and died on Christmas Day.

In a victim impact statement read to Ipswich Crown Court Mr Allen’s mother Lesley described the heartache of having to tell her 14-year old daughter on Christmas Day that her big brother had died.

Humphrys, of West Meadows, admitted causing a public nuisance by allowing his horses to stray on to the A14 during December 2012.

In a statement after yesterday’s sentencing, Mr Allen’s family said: “There is no relief or happiness here today, our loss is just as strong as it was on Christmas Day 2012.

“Nothing can take away the total devastation and pain we feel. Our lives will carry on but they will not be as we had planned. Thomas is not with us anymore and he should be here living his life and fulfilling all his goals and dreams. This accident should never have happened. Tom was not doing anything wrong; he was just travelling home to his family for Christmas and sadly he never arrived.

“All we, his family have now are cherished memories of him. Tom’s future has gone and ours has changed, and nothing can make that better. We will carry on rebuilding our lives without Thomas and at least now we have some kind of closure.”

Judge Devaux accepted that fencing at the disused British Sugar site at Sproughton, where the horses were kept, could have been tampered with but told Humphrys that people who kept horses had a “general duty of care” to keep them secure and prevent them from gaining access to roads.

“This is not a case of being wise after the event. You were well aware from previous and recent escapes that the site was unsuitable for keeping animals,” said the judge.

He said Humphrys had been given advice by the police following earlier escapes but these words had not been sufficiently heeded. “You were warned they were a hazard and this was an accident waiting to happen,” said the judge.

The court heard that in addition to the death of Mr Allen, six people were injured, three horses died and four vehicles were damaged in the carnage caused by the horses straying on to the road.

Nick Staite, prosecuting, said Humphrys had been responsible for a herd of 30-50 horses that had been “fly-grazing” close to the A14.

He said that prior to the collision involving Mr Allen a number of motorists had seen horses galloping along an unlit stretch of the A14 narrowly missing on-coming cars.

Paul Donegan, for Humphrys, said his client had expressed remorse for what had happened and had co-operated with the authorities investigating the collision.

He said Humphrys had taken steps to keep the site where the horses were kept secure. “He can’t say with certainty how and when the horses escaped but he accepts they did and that the responsibilty lies with him and no-one else,” said Mr Donegan.

After yesterday’s sentencing, Sergeant Bob Patterson from Suffolk’s Serious Collision Investigation Team said: “This was a truly horrific collision which resulted in the loss of a young man’s life. It was compounded by the fact that a family lost their loved one on Christmas Day.

“I hope that Stacy Humphrys’ guilty plea and sentencing will provide some comfort to Thomas’ family who have waited over a year for this day to come.”

---

During yesterday’s hearing it was revealed that Thomas Allen’s death was the second tragedy to befall his family.

In 2002 his 10-year-old cousin Holly Wells was murdered along with her friend Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley after he invited them back to his rented house in Soham as they walked home from buying sweets.

Huntley was sentenced to life imprisonment in September 2005 while his girlfriend Maxine Carr who admitted perverting the course of justice was jailed for three and a half years.

In a victim impact statement read to the court at Humphrys’ sentencing Thomas Allen’s mother Lesley Allen described the devastating effect his death had on her family and said it was the second time her parents had suffered the loss of a grandchild following the murder of her sister’s daughter Holly.

shares

2 comments

  • Was going to put on a comment but I know this paper would not print it

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Looks exactly how you'd expect him to look. The word to describe him won't get past the monitors, but let's just say his house has wheels on and he's no stranger to laying tarmac on driveways.

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Avro Vulcan XH558 at the Clacton Air Show.

The eyes of Britain were on Clacton yesterday as it hosted the first major air show since last weekend’s Shoreham disaster – and organisers hailed the first day of the event as a huge success.

Vulcan makes last trip over Suffolk at RAF Lakenheath.

Today (August 27) marked the last time the iconic Avro Vulcan bomber flew through Suffolk.

Ex-teacher convicted of abusing child

A former remedial school teacher from Suffolk and long-term partner of one of the founders of the Paedophile Information Exchange has been found guilty of molesting an 11-year-old boy, it can be revealed.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service was called out to a car blaze.

Firefighters were called out to a car blaze in Ipswich tonight.

Police have closed the road.

Police, fire and ambulance crews attended the scene of a three-vehicle crash on the Barnby bends in Beccles.

Large crowds at the Clacton Air Show.

Thousands of fans have flocked to the Essex coast today to take in the sights and sounds of the Clacton Airshow.

Leiston Film Theatre Assistant Manager Hannah Everett and General Manager Wayne Burns have their martinis ready now that they are able to screen the new James Bond movie the same day as the world wide release.

As the stars of the new James Bond movie tread the red carpet and settle in their seats to enjoy the world premiere, film fans in a Suffolk town will be watching all the action, too.

Police are investigating the incident

Police are investigating after a suspicious vehicle was seen in a field in Coney Weston this morning.

Hollesley Bay

Serious questions are being asked about why a prolific burglar, who had been jailed for four-and-a-half years, was moved to the “soft option” of a Suffolk open prison just months into his sentence.

Police are investigating the incident

Police have issued a CCTV image of a man they are looking to trace following a sexual assault in Haverhill.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages