A LORRY driver has avoided jail for not securing a heavy metal chain which fatally sliced “like a cheesewire” through another vehicle.

Christopher Watson was convicted at Oxford Crown Court in November of causing the death of Michael Stringer, from Brill in Buckinghamshire, by driving a lorry in a dangerous condition.

The 45-year-old yesterday received an 18-month suspended sentence after a judge said what happened was “unique and disastrous”.

The accident took place on the A415 near Abingdon on July 18, 2012, as Mr Stringer’s vehicle and a flatbed lorry driven by the defendant were passing each other.

Judge Mary Jane Mowat said the evidence in the case showed Watson had left one or more chains unsecured on the back of his lorry after transporting a load to Abingdon.

She said the 52-year-old Mr Stringer died after the chain whipped through the cabin of his lorry and inflicted what a prosecutor called a “catastrophic head injury”.

But passing sentence she told Watson – who has been an HGV driver for 26 years and has now lost his job – that his mistake was “carelessness”, that the dead man could not be brought back and nothing could “dull the pain of his family”.

“You don’t need to be kept away from the public for their protection and, in my view, you have been punished enough in other ways.”

Watson, of Tudor Drive, Watford, will contribute £500 towards costs and was banned from driving for two years.