Girlfriend's heartbreak after careless driver robs her of the 'love of her life'

The accident happened on a "perfectly straight" stretch of Westfield Lane, near Hook Picture: Google Maps
The accident happened on a "perfectly straight" stretch of Westfield Lane, near Hook Picture: Google Maps
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The girlfriend of a man killed by his work colleague's careless driving said she has lost the "love of her life".

Gary Clarkson, 36, was a passenger in a Ford Transit, driven by Brodie Palmer, which careered off Westfield Lane near Hook last June 27.

Mr Clarkson, who was two days from leaving his job for a new life in Boston, Lincolnshire, was trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene..

On Friday Palmer, 26, was given a suspended sentence at Hull Crown Court, which heard there was "no objective reason" for him losing control of the vehicle.

The court heard that an eyewitness coming in the opposite direction saw the van “rocking and out of control” and pulled over out of concern for her own safety.

The van went onto the grass verge and into a shallow ditch before hitting a tree.

Palmer suffered a blow to his head, but Mr Clarkson, 36, suffered multiple traumatic injuries.

In an emotional witness impact statement read to the court, his girlfriend said she had lost the love of her life.

Addressing Palmer directly, she said: “Every single morning I wake up and think about the plans we had made. Your carelessness ended his life at a time when we should have been starting our new life together.

"You have the future to look forward to - all I have is heartbreak and memories."

A statement from Mr Clarkson’s mother said her “whole world came crashing down” when she heard the news.

She said she could never forgive nor forget Palmer’s “idiotic” driving which had cost her son his life.

She said: “It was as if I was in a nightmare that I can’t wake up from and I am still like that one year on. Gary should still have had plenty of years to live and enjoy his life."

The court heard that Palmer told police he hit a dip in the road at 50mph and went "totally off course".

A forensic examination of the scene revealed a pothole which was less than an inch deep, which had been repaired.

A reconstruction saw a similar vehicle drive over "without such difficulty". The van was also found to be without fault.

Palmer was unable to give any explanation for not being able to control the vehicle and keep it on the carriageway, Chris Smith, prosecuting, said.

Mr Smith said it was difficult to say what happened "other than there was insufficient regard being paid to driving a commercial vehicle of some weight down a perfectly straight road".

Alex Jamieson, defending, read out a letter from Palmer, apologising and accepting full responsibility for the death of Mr Clarkson, who he considered a friend.

In it Palmer said: “My heart goes out to his family and I know my words can never return to them what I have lost, but I wish to say to them I am so sorry.”

The pair worked for an organisation called Green Team, which provides gardening services for the vulnerable.

Since the tragedy Palmer had been unable to go back to work.

Judge David Tremberg told Palmer, who admitted causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing, the family statements set out in “clear and painful terms the enduring legacy of your forseeable and avoidable lack of care.”

He said there was "no objective reason" for Palmer to have lost control of the vehicle had he been excercising "any meaningful degree of care".

But he accepted Palmer's remorse was genuine, and he was suffering what his parents described as “survivor’s guilt”, and was feeling isolated and depressed.

Palmer was given a four month jail term suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid work, 15 days of community rehabilitation and was disqualified from driving for two years.