Death crash drink driver jailed

A DRINK-DRIVER who caused the death of a father-of-two has been jailed for eight years after he lied to paramedics and said he had been the car's passenger.

James Hore

A DRINK-DRIVER who caused the death of a father-of-two has been jailed for eight years after he lied to paramedics and said he had been the car's passenger.

Gurpreet Dhillon, who had no licence and no insurance, consumed alcohol and cocaine before getting behind the wheel of his green Jaguar XK convertible before colliding with a roundabout in Centenary Way in Clacton.

The sports car flipped over and sparks could be seen coming from the vehicle, Chelmsford Crown Court heard yesterday.

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Dhillon's passenger and business associate, Tony Proctor, suffered severe injuries in the accident in the early hours of September 27 last year and his wife, Anna, was forced to make the heart-breaking

decision to switch his life-support machine off two days later.

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There were emotional scenes in the courtroom as Dhillon was sentenced, with shouts of "coward" and "it should have been you" coming from the public gallery as he was led away.

Samantha Leigh, prosecuting, said Dhillon had been seen kicking open the driver's door and when he spoke to police and paramedics his "speech was slurred and alcohol was on his breath".

Miss Leigh said Dhillon had been "uncooperative and unhelpful" with the emergency crews.

"A paramedic asked if he was the passenger - he hesitated and then said he was," she said.

Police officers suspected Dhillon had been driving and later requested a blood specimen from him when he was in hospital.

But the 29-year-old told them: "Don't bother - I am not giving you anything, I have been in an accident. I am not doing it, I want my solicitor."

He was discharged from hospital at 4.25am and immediately arrested but refused to answer questions during interview.

Investigations suggested Dhillon had been speeding and was unable to control his car, swerving and breaking when it was too late to avoid hitting the roundabout.

Police proved Dhillon had been the driver because plastic from the steering wheel "fused" into his jeans upon the impact and a witness described an "Asian" man climbing from the driver's seat.

The court heard that Dhillon had been prosecuted for driving with excess alcohol in 2002 and was also convicted of another driving licence offence in February this year after the fatal crash.

David Pickersgill , mitigating, said Dhillon had been suffering from depression since the death of Mr Proctor, of Corringham, south Essex.

He said: "He finds it extremely difficult to put into words how he feels. He does empathise with the family and friends and can't express his sorrow in strong enough terms.

"He is a man who clearly has tried to make a success of his life - contrast that in terms of his life now," he told the court.

Judge Anthony Gauldstaub QC told Dhillon: "You refused a blood sample and the reason you refused was because you had excess alcohol in your system and had been taking cocaine.

"A man's life has been taken and his wife and family left bereft and his young children fatherless for the sake of your indulgence in alcohol and Class-A drugs."

Dhillon, of Slough, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by careless driving, showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

He also pleaded guilty yesterday of failing to provide a specimen following the crash.

Dhillon was also banned from the roads for five years and faces an extended re-test if he wants to drive again.

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