Published: 09:00, 05 September 2017
| Updated: 09:24, 05 September 2017
A lorry driver has been jailed for 18 months after his vehicle overturned and crushed a Hildenborough father.
David Hare was driving the 41-tonne HGV along the A27 near Polegate in March 2015 when he struck Steven Copping's Volvo V60, which was heading in the opposite direction.
The lorry - which was carrying scrap metal - overturned, crushing 51-year-old Mr Copping's car and instantly killing him.
Hare, 55, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, was subsequently arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
Following two unsuccessful trials Hare pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of causing death by driving without due care and attention.
The court was told Hare exceeded the speed limit throughout his journey before losing control while taking a corner and colliding with Mr Copping, of Byrneside.
The prosecution also presented evidence of mobile phone usage during his journey, which revealed Hare deleted his call history before his phone was seized by police.
Yesterday at Lewes Crown Court Hare was jailed for a year and a half and ordered to serve the remainder of his four year disqualification upon his release.
His Honour Judge Anthony said: "No sentence a court can pass can compensate the family in question. This was quite clearly not a momentary lapse of inattention." He said that it was a prolonged period of careless driving and added: "We are responsible for our actions; all actions have consequences."
Sgt Dan Pitcher, of the East Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Throughout the case the investigation team has examined mobile phone data, data from the vehicle’s tachograph and engine electronic control units. Our focus was to find out what caused or contributed to the collision and ultimately the tragic death of Steven Copping.
“In addition to this we have supported the family during the investigation and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.
“This case is a stark reminder of how vulnerable we are as road users; Sussex Police will relentlessly pursue those who break the law, which in this case had devastating consequences."
Present in court throughout the trial was Mr Copping’s family. His wife Karen issued the following statement: “On that fateful day Steve went happily off to work. We didn't for one second imagine that he would not be returning home to his loving family. Since that day we have suffered unimaginable pain through our loss.
“I know that Mr Hare did not set out that morning to kill Steve but he did; through his actions we, as a family, are forever bereft" — Karen Copping
“Steve was an amazing dad, and a loving and devoted husband. He was funny and friendly with a massive heart. He was loved by many and they have been a huge support to us always.
“I know that Mr Hare did not set out that morning to kill Steve but he did; through his actions we, as a family, are forever bereft.
“Nothing will bring Steve back home to us, but justice has taken its course and this gives us some solace. Our future will be marred by his absence and that will always be. He was taken from us so cruelly.
“As a family we would like to thank our CPS prosecutor Mary Walford for her conduct of the prosecution; she has been thoroughly professional and respectful throughout.
“Sussex Police’s Roads Policing Unit officers have been amazing from the outset and have continued with their hard work and support ever since. Sgt Dan Pitcher and his team are a credit to the police force, and should be commended for their hard work and compassion throughout the last few months.
“We would especially like to thank PC Dave Upjohn, our family liaison officer, for his continued support; as a family we will always value his friendship.”
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