sentenced over ditch plunge death in Mark near Burnham-On-Sea
driver who caused a ditch crash near Burnham-On-Sea last year
in which a man died has been given a suspended two-year prison
sentence after the family of the victim pleaded with a judge not
to jail him.
a hearing in Taunton Crown Court, Dominic Harding, 28, from Bilston
in West Midlands, was given a suspended sentence after the mother
of Robert Goodwin, Vanessa, wrote to the judge asking that he
be spared from jail.
court heard that Harding lost control of his Renault Clio on a
road bend in Mark near the White Horse Inn as he drove with Mr
Goodwin following a barbecue on May 30th 2015.
two, who were life-long friends, had been at the barbecue together
before Harding left following a row after a neighbour had complained
about the noise levels.
Harding and Mr Goodwin drove along the B3139 through the village
of Mark, Harding lost control and the vehicle landed upside down
in a water-filled ditch besides the road.
court was told that while Harding was able to escape, Mr Goodwin
was unable to get out of the submerged car and died at the scene.
Harding tried to free Mr Goodwin but tragically was unable to.
arrested Harding at 5.48am on May 30th. A breathalyser test found
he had at least 54 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres
of breath at the time of the incident, which exceeded the legal
limit of 35mg.
had previously pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
The court heard that Mr Goodwin's mother had written a letter
to the judge, calling on him to spare him jail as the family did
not want Harding's life further ruined by going to prison.
down the sentence, and banning Harding from driving for two years
and a victim surcharge of £120, Recorder Ignatius Hughes
said: "His death is a tragedy for his parents and those close
to him, including yourself as you are a close childhood friend.
No sentence I give is going to bring Robert back."
parents of the deceased have written to the court saying they
do not want to see your life ruined further with a prison sentence."
Goodwin was not a Somerset man, but he made his life here having
moved to Highbridge from the West Midlands. I have read a letter
from Mr Goodwins partner. She has written movingly about
how the loss of her partner has affected her and her children."
have accepted that you should have adjusted your speed or the
way you steered. The exact cause of the crash is uncertain. In
the aftermath you tried to save the life of your friend - you
would have been emotional, distressed and drenched in an area
you did not know well."
pre-sentence report suggests you are remorseful and wracked by
guilt following the incident."