Biker’s widow wants longer jail terms over fatal crashes

Oxford Mail: Widow Sharon Gargan and her daughter Samantha and grandson Taylor outside Oxford Crown Court yesterday Widow Sharon Gargan and her daughter Samantha and grandson Taylor outside Oxford Crown Court yesterday

THE widow of a builder’s foreman killed in a motorbike crash has said judges should be able to pass longer sentences for drivers who cause fatal accidents.

Yesterday, Arthur Pridham, of Station Road, Bampton, was jailed for six months at Oxford Crown Court after he admitted causing death by careless driving.

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Gargan and her husband Gerard, who died in the crash for which Arthur Pridham was jailed for six months

The 35-year-old was responsible for the death of Gerard Gargan on June 1 last year, when he turned right into his drive off the A4095 and didn’t see the motorbike coming in the opposite direction.

Judge Patrick Eccles said the bike struck Pridham’s Nissan and the rider was thrown through the air, later dying in Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

He said while he accepted the defendant had indicated and turned slowly, the fact remained that he had not seen the 58-year-old and his mistake had caused his death.

Judge Eccles told him that although a short prison sentence would not benefit anyone, there had to be “punishment and pain” for drivers who commit such crimes.

Speaking after the hearing his victim’s widow Sharon Gargan, also from Bampton, praised the judge for passing a custodial sentence.

She said: “I’m pleased that he has gone to prison but as a family we feel it isn’t enough.

“I think the judge did very well in giving him a custodial sentence but I think the judges’ hands are tied and I really think we should, as a nation, untie the judges’ hands.

“The second you get into a motor vehicle it is a loaded weapon. We all have to be more responsible and vigilant in the way we drive.

“If you’re not concentrating this is what can happen.”

Mrs Gargan, 56, added: “We were always together.

“He was a wonderful man, a family man. He lived every moment for his family.”

She added he doted on his four children and grandson.

Graham Bennett, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty because he realised he should have seen Mr Gargan’s bike. He said: “He has not appeared before the courts before in his life.”

Mr Bennett added that after the accident Pridham lost his job, his health had been badly affected and his wife had left him.

Judge Eccles said it “remains entirely unknown” why Pridham failed to see the motorbike, which had been at least 100m away.

He told him: “The fact is that you did not check properly before you made that turn.”

Causing death by careless driving is a less serious crime than causing death by dangerous driving and was introduced in 2008. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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