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Death crash lorry driver gets his licence back early
3:55pm Monday 4th March 2013 in News
A LORRY driver who admitted causing the death of an elderly Beaminster couple has successfully applied to have his driving ban lifted early.
Peter James Girton received a suspended prison sentence back in September 2010 after admitting causing the death of Sheila and Alastair Flattely by careless driving.
Mrs Flattely, 85, and Mr Flattely, 86, were killed when their car collided with Girton’s lorry at Holywell Cross on the A37 in May 2009.
Girton was found to be exceeding the 40 mph speed limit at the time of the crash and received a four-year disqualification from driving as part of the sentence, which was backdated to when he enter his guilty pleas in August 2010.
The 48-year-old returned to Dorchester Crown Court to apply for the driving ban to be lifted some 18 months early after he claimed he had got into financial difficulty and was finding it hard to see his elderly mother who had suffered a stroke.
Girton, of Rowan Drive, Taunton, Somerset, took to the witness box to tell the court how he had split with his wife at the end of 2010 and ended up taking on a number of debts she had run up with a new partner.
He said he was supporting his 18-year-old son and also found it difficult to afford the train fare to see his 84-year-old mother in Nottingham.
Girton, who currently works as a forklift truck driver in a warehouse, said if the ban were lifted he intended to find a better paid job elsewhere so he could make inroads into the debts his wife had left him, although he said he was not thinking about returning to being a lorry driver.
He told the court: “I am not trying to walk away from the gravity of the offence at all and I’m truly sorry for what happened that day.”
Judge Roger Jarvis said it was clear Girton recognised the seriousness of his offence but had suffered a number of hardships since the sentence was imposed.
He said: “It seems to me he has done his very best to try and put his own life back into some sort of order and not to be a burden on the state.
“He has responsibilities and he has been left with a considerable amount of debt.
“In my judgement, not withstanding the fact that the incident itself was very tragic, the circumstances do justify the removal of his period of disqualification.”
After the sentencing, nephew of Mr and Mrs Flattely, Chris Houghton, who lives near Witney in Oxfordshire, said he had no issue with the decision and, after all that both families had been through, it was time to move on.
He said: “Obviously he’s had a bit of a hard time and needs a bit of luck now I would expect. I would be quite happy for him to be able to get another job.”