Death crash family's despair

A FAMILY has spoken of their devastation after the man accused of causing their teenage son's death through dangerous driving was acquitted of the charge.

By Danielle Nuttall

A FAMILY has spoken of their devastation after the man accused of causing their teenage son's death through dangerous driving was acquitted of the charge.

A jury took just under four hours to find Richard Newport not guilty of causing the death of Sam Kerry by dangerous driving at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday , following a day-long trial.

But the father-of-two was found guilty of driving without due care and attention, a charge he had admitted at an earlier hearing.

The 36-year-old trailer fitter, of Lincoln Avenue, Saxmundham, had been accused of driving his Vauxhall Astra dangerously when he overtook a lorry on the A1120 through Earl Soham into the path of 17-year-old moped rider Mr Kerry.

Trainee gardener Mr Kerry, who lived at Sparrow Court, Debenham, suffered fatal injuries and died on arrival at hospital.

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Speaking after the case yesterday, Mr Kerry's mother, Linda, spoke of her shock at the verdict.

Breaking down into tears, she said: "We are absolutely devastated. It is the anniversary next Thursday and we've had this all year and this is the verdict. We are numb."

Sentencing Newport for the driving without due care and attention offence, Judge David Gooding fined him £750 and ordered him to pay £50 costs. He also placed seven penalty points on Newport's driving license.

He told Newport: "You know of course that the anniversary of Sam Kerry's death is six days away. Nothing can compensate his family for his loss.

"You are fundamentally a decent man. People speak very highly of you. No doubt the consequences of your misjudgement on that morning will live with you forever."

Speaking after the case, Newport, who also helps out with a local scout group, said: "I am just so sorry. I never meant to go out that day and hurt anyone.

"I just want to say how sorry I am. I do not think the family know how sorry I am."

During the trial, the court heard Newport had been driving along the A1120 to work when the accident happened, shortly after 7am.

While travelling through Earl Soham on the single carriageway road, Newport pulled out to overtake an articulated lorry but immediately collided with Mr Kerry's moped, catapulting the teenager backwards.

The prosecution claimed Newport overtook the lorry just before the brow of a hill so would not have been able to see what was coming in the opposite direction.

But giving evidence, Newport said he thought that it had been safe to pull out and wept as he told the court how he sat by the side of Mr Kerry immediately after the accident.

"I went over to Sam and was by his side. I was trying to see whether he was ok. I was there all the time holding his hand," he told the jury.

"We came to the top of the hill, I pulled out to have a look down the side of the lorry. I could see in the distance there was a set of headlights.

"I presumed it was safe to overtake so I pulled out. I could see all the way along the road in front of me. It happened almost instantaneously."

Newport has 21 days to pay the £750 fine and costs.

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