A JUDGE has jailed a young farmer who police said was probably on his mobile phone seconds before a horrific collision which a killed a father-of-two on his way to a country shoot.
Keith Calvert, 65, was stood near the boot of his Land Rover Freelander when Jake Rewcastle, 21, ploughed into him in a Land Rover Discovery catapulting him into the air.
Mr Calvert landed in a ditch with fatal injuries – his glasses were found on the bonnet of the Discovery.
There was no evidence of braking. Police found Rewcastle had been on his mobile phone in a four-five minute call about a bacon sandwich with his friend during the journey. They could not say he was definitely on the phone at the time of the impact.
Accident investigators found he had eight seconds in which to see Mr Calvert who was at the back of his vehicle on the B1230 at Scalby at 9.20am on December 6 2014.
Rewcastle, of Sandholme Road, Gilberdyke, claimed he had been dazzled by the sun and for four seconds was wrestling with a visor moving it from the front to the side window to shield his eyes.
However, he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and appeared at Hull Crown Court for sentence today (Wednesday, April 20).
Crown barrister Ian West told the court: “Mr Rewcastle initially that morning had a WhatsApp conversation with his friend, which was texting. That concluded prior to his departure, but then at 8.34am there was a five minute call between them again while he was driving.
“It is not possible to say he was on the phone at the time of the collision, but it can be proved he was for part of the time of the journey.”
The court heard 500 people attended Mr Calvert’s funeral and it had torn Gilberdyke apart because people knew both families.
In a victim impact statement Mr Calvert’s wife Geraldine, who sat in court said: “My family find life without Keith to be very difficult indeed. He was a family man. Keith was very much the hub of our family. I feel the heart has now been ripped out of it. He was my most trusted person and best friend. We were very close. Keith and I shared everything together and there was not a day went by that he did not tell me he loved me. That is the thing I miss hearing the most. The future was looking bright. Laura and Simon are growing up. The thought of Laura being given away by her dad was something that Laura held very dear. Keith would have been so proud. Any thoughts of us become grandparents and enjoying retirement years together have been taken away.”
Mr West said Mr Calvert lost a limb in an industrial accident, but it did not stop him getting his HGV licence and becoming a keen cricket player. Mr West said the love of his life, after his family, had been country shooting – which he had been on his way to.
Defence barrister Abbas Lakha, QC, said Mr Rewcastle was full of remorse. “While the evidence accepts he was on the phone for part of the journey, it wasn’t for all it – or at the time of the accident,” said Mr Lakha. “He must have been distracted for 8 seconds. We do not know what caused the distraction. He had just emerged from a patch of road and the sun came at him from the right.
“His references come from family friends and work colleagues who speak of a young man who is polite, kind, caring and considerate. He is hard-working and utterly committed to his family. He was born and brought up on a farm, the eldest of three sons.
“It might be said farming is in his blood. It is all he knows. He was trained by his grandfather and grew up beside him. At the relatively young age of 55 his grandfather had a heart attack and passed away so he knows about loss.
“He wishes to make it plain how terrible he feels. He is utterly consumed by remorse. He says if he could turn back the clock, he would, but he cannot.”
Judge Jeremy Richardson, QC, told Rewcastle: “You have by your very bad driving killed Mr Calvert who was 65. I have heard evidence from his wife he was much loved. She spoke of her incalculable loss due to your conduct . I accept you are deeply remorseful. This is not a case of murder or manslaughter. You did not intend his death or any injury. However, you caused his death due to your criminal conduct and manner of driving. I am satisfied you made contact with you friend by a phone app and continued with a mobile call while driving. You should not have been on the phone. That forms the back drop. However it is very important to record you were not on the telephone at the time of collision.
“I cannot lose sight of the fact a decent man lost his life. You caused that and you must be punished.”
He jailed Rewcastle for 20 months and ordered he should be disqualified from driving for three years and 10 months.