A van driver on two mobile phones smashed into a family car and killed a mum-of-two who was on her way to a family funeral. Robert Munce, 47, was trying to undertake another vehicle when he smashed into the side of Peter Nile’s Ford Focus – causing a six vehicle pile-up.
Mr Nile was with his son Steven and wife Margaret, 65, when Munce swerved into them in his Ford Transit. The family on the way to a relative’s funeral. Emergency services rushed to the A1 in Newark, Nottinghamshire, but tragically Margaret was pronounced dead at the scene.
A court heard the careless driver was messaging and using the internet on both his phones before the tragic crash at around midday on November 11, 2014.
Munce, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for four years and three months at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday.
Judge Michael Stokes QC said: “It is quite clear, from what I have read and have heard from her son that, like any mother and wife, her death is devastating to her family.
“She is irreplaceable. The impact on her family will never cease.
“It is a fact of life that we must all die eventually. But when death comes sudden and in these circumstances, the impact is always much worse.”
Judge Stokes told Munce he should have pleaded guilty at his preliminary hearing on December 8.
Mrs Nile had been travelling in the back seat of the family’s car on the way to the funeral at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Her husband, Peter, was driving and her son, Steven, was in the front.
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The court heard Mr Nile screamed “Oh Hell” moments before Munce – who was undertaking another car in his van – veered into the family’s car.
Prosecutor Richard Sheldon said police “interrogated” Munce’s two mobile phones after the accident.
He said: “The vehicle left Hull shortly before 9am, bound for Peterborough and, during the course of the journey, he was sending messages or texts, one or the other, and using them to gain internet access.”
When arrested, Munce admitted he had used his phone, but tried to shorten the amount of usage.
Weeping as he read his victim impact statement to court, Margaret’s son Steven said: “The events which occurred on the morning of Tuesday, November 11, will live with me for the rest of my life.
“Our vehicle was hit from behind, as we were slowing to exit from the highway.
He added that he did not have a chance to say goodbye to the mother he described as “wonderful, kind, loving and caring”.
Richard Clewes, defending, said his client lost his job almost immediately and his health had suffered considerably and he has had not wished to drive since.
Mr Clewes added: “He is deeply and genuinely remorseful.”
Detective constable Paul Jaycock, the officer leading the investigation, said the case demonstrates the “devastating consequences” of using mobile phones by driving.
He added: “Margaret Nile died because Robert Munce was needlessly distracted by his mobile phone when he should have been concentrating on driving.
“Sadly he cannot turn back the clock and has been imprisoned for his actions.
“Margaret’s family now have to try and rebuild their shattered lives.
“Their lives and arguably Munce’s life too, have changed forever.
“I would urge any driver that looks at their mobile phone when they should be fully focused on the road ahead, to heed the lesson that Munce has been learning since November 11, 2014.”