Monday 26 September 2016

Lorry driver jailed for killing female police officer moments after checking iPhone text

Ryan Hooper

Published 12/09/2016 | 16:39

Lorry driver Danny Warby Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Lorry driver Danny Warby Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

A lorry driver who was using his mobile phone moments before causing a crash which killed a police officer has been jailed.

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Danny Warby, 28, was handed a six-year sentence at Peterborough Crown Court after being found guilty of causing the death of Cambridgeshire Police officer Det Con Sharon Garrett on June 6 2014.

Warby looked at a message on his iPhone seconds before his 13.6-tonne light goods vehicle veered into oncoming traffic on the A141 in Cambridgeshire, his trial heard.

He clipped an oncoming lorry and showered two more cars with debris before crashing into a Renault Clio driven by 48-year-old Ms Garrett, a married mother-of-two.

Detective Constable Sharon Garrett Credit: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire
Detective Constable Sharon Garrett Credit: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire

In a statement released through Cambridgeshire Police, the victim's family said: "The loss of Sharon has been the most devastating event in the life of our family. It has had an impact on so many people, and for so many reasons.

"As a mother, Sharon was inspirational to our two young children. She would always help them with their studies, setting aside time to make sure homework was completed. She was a very intelligent woman, and extremely knowledgeable about a lot of things.

"Sharon was full of energy. Working full-time, she always made sure our children had quality family-time wherever possible.

"Sharon was a truly remarkable woman, warm, friendly, kind, generous, intelligent, strong and hard-working. We have been left devastated, and our hearts left completely broken.

"There is a massive void in our lives which can never be filled.

"No sentencing can ever bring back Sharon, but it is our hope that the sentence passed today will remind others that the simple act of using a mobile phone while driving can have such devastating consequences."

Detective Constable Sharon Garrett, as lorry driver Danny Warby who was using his mobile phone moments before causing a crash which the police officer has been jailed. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire
Detective Constable Sharon Garrett, as lorry driver Danny Warby who was using his mobile phone moments before causing a crash which the police officer has been jailed. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police/PA Wire

Warby had previous convictions for drink-driving in 2011 and for using a mobile phone while driving and driving without a seat belt.

He had completed several short journeys that day in the lorry which was carrying a crane and construction materials. The final journey, which ended in the crash, was less than one-and-a-half miles (2.4km).

During the seven-day trial in August, the court heard Warby, of School Road, Runcton Holme, King's Lynn, had only been driving for two minutes before the collision but had been using his mobile phone and responded to a text message.

He was also breaking the speed limit.

Pc Pete Bimson, who investigated the collision, said: "This was a tragic incident which claimed the life of a police officer.

"But the evidence heard in court showed it could have been avoided and emphasises the message that using a mobile phone at the wheel can have fatal consequences."

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