A SOLDIER home on leave had the horrific experience of coming across an accident involving his father, who later died.
Ben Davies saw his father Christopher Davies leave for work on his motorcycle – and a short time later he himself left to go and see his girlfriend.
But about a mile down the road he came across the scene of the crash and saw his father unconscious.
His father died a short time later in hospital.
The car driver whose vehicle went out of control on a bend and careered into the victim’s motorcycle was jailed for 10 months after he admitting causing death by careless driving.
Prosecutor Richard Edwards told Mold Crown Court that Christopher Davies, an accomplished runner who ran for local clubs and for Wales, had no chance when he was confronted by Gareth Ifan Ritchie’s car spinning out of control towards him on the wrong side of the road.
Ritchie, aged 23, of Cae Delyn, Caerwys, admitted that on August 4 last year on the A5026 at Holway Road, Carmel, he caused the death of Mr Davies and as well as being jailed, he was disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years and ordered to take an extended driving test.
Judge Niclas Parry said no punishment the court could impose could, or was intended to, reflect the enormity of loss or the value of the life lost.
“On the morning of August 4 for no reason whatsoever, other than your carelessness, you drove in such a way that you failed to negotiate a bend that could normally be comfortably negotiated at a speed as high as 76mph,” the judge told Ritchie.
“You were driving considerably lower than that, your vehicle entered the other side of the road, crossed the centre white lines and went across the entirety of the carriageway for six-and-a-half metres.”
It hit a kerb and a wall and then continued down the wrong side of the road, rotating as it did so.
Mr Davies’s motorcycle was perfectly positioned in his correct lane and he would not in any way have been able to avoid a collision.
The judge told Ritchie: “He was confronted by your vehicle rotating towards him on his side of the road.”
He added there was absolutely no reason why the defendant should not have been able to control his vehicle.
“Your steering caused the loss of control,” he said.
The judge told Ritchie it did him no credit whatsoever, that his immediate reaction at the roadside was to blame the motorcyclist, which he maintained in interview and in his pre-sentence report.
When faced with the overwhelming findings of a forensic collision investigation, he had made the rather flippant remark “they are not that good are they?”.
However, the judge said he accepted Ritchie had changed his original stance and shown remorse.
He was a man of good character with a blemish-free driving record. It was a personal tragedy for him also.
Mr Davies, 52, from Holywell, a sales consultant at Lookers in Birkenhead, died at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan of multiple injuries.
In a moving victim impact statement read to the court, his widow Jacqueline Davies told how, on the day of the tragedy, she had been working at Glan Clwyd Hospital and had been taken from the ward to be told that her husband had been killed.
She had to give up work because of the painful memories of that day would be with her for ever.
Her son, Ben, home on leave from the Army, had the horrific experience of driving past the scene and he saw his father unconscious in the road.
He had planned to go to Australia when he finished in the Army but he had now abandoned those plans.
Her other son, Jordan, was half-way through his tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was told of the tragedy by an Army chaplain.
He endured a 36-hour journey home alone and two days after the funeral returned to Afghanistan to continue with his tour of duty.
Mrs Davies’s daughter, Leanne, had been working in London at the time and the family had been unable to contact her immediately to tell her of the tragedy.
She had since been unable to continue working in London.
Mrs Davies told how that morning she kissed her husband goodbye and left for work.
The next time she saw him was three hours later. He was dead and had been killed very close to their home.
“My life will never be the same without Chris in it,” she said. “It has changed my life for ever.”
She told how her husband had been planning to wind down in work so they could spend more time together.
But they would no longer be able to live out their dreams.
Timothy Davies told how Christopher Davies was his older brother and his best friend and they would do many things together, including running.
Daniel Oscroft, defending, said it had been extremely difficult for Ritchie, who did not remember the accident at all.
While he recalled the accident happening differently, he accepted the expert evidence and now accepted full responsibility.
“He remains desperately sorry for causing the death of Mr Davies.
“He does not seek to blame him in any way,” he said.
His client was not a criminal by nature but a man who had made a tragic error on the day for no obvious reason.
Ritchie was a hard-working family man who would have to live with what he had done, although he knew that did not compare to what the victim’s family were going through.
Following the case, Chief Insp Darren Wareing of the roads policing unit said: “First and foremost our deepest sympathies remain with the family of Christopher Davies whose lives have been severely affected by Ritchie’s actions.
“The sentence today reflects the severity of the crime Ritchie committed by driving carelessly and in doing so taking away the life of a much loved member of the community.
“Whilst supporting the family of Mr Davies, the police have thoroughly investigated this offence and presented expert evidence in court that has secured a custodial sentence.
“Risk-taking whilst driving can have devastating effects on all parties.”