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Driver using mobile phone the cause of yet another fatal crash on A34

Oxford man pleads guilty to causing death by dangerous driving

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

Court

A MAN who was using his mobile phone behind the wheel while driving on the A34 has been convicted of causing a crash which killed another motorist.

Lewis Stratford, 24, of Field Avenue, Oxford, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Reading Crown Court yesterday (24/1).

Emergency services were called to a report of a collision shortly before 10pm on June 11, 2016 on the A34 near East Ilsley.

The collision took place near the Compton junction, when Stratford’s Vauxhall Corsa collided into the central reservation and crossed onto the opposite carriageway before colliding head-on with a BMW.

The driver of the BMW, 28-year-old Gavin Roberts from Swindon, sustained life-threatening injuries and died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on Wednesday, June 15 - four days after the incident.

Mr Roberts' girlfriend, Meg Williamson, subsequently started a petition demanding the whole stretch of road be reduced to 50mph and speed cameras installed to enforce the new limit.

Stratford was voluntarily interviewed on July 7 and was postal summonsed on November 17.

And at yesterday’s court appearance, Stratford admitted using his mobile phone at the time of the collision.

Investigating officer Sgt Beth Walton, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This was an avoidable collision, occurring because of the actions taken by Lewis Stratford which was to drive his vehicle at speed whilst using his mobile phone, and caused the tragic loss of Gavin’s Roberts’ life.

“Driving whilst using a mobile phone is one of the ‘fatal four’ driving offences, along with speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and drink or drug driving.

"It’s an offence which can, as this case shows, have catastrophic consequences. The loss of a life in these circumstances and impact on families and friends is devastating.

“The conviction, I hope, will allow the family and friends of Gavin Roberts to have a sense of closure with regard to proceedings and enable them to continue through their grief at this difficult time.”

Stratford was released on bail by the court and is due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on March 3.

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