Motorist who killed his friend is spared jail

Graham Cheetham

Graham Cheetham

First published in News

AN ELDERLY driver who killed his friend driving back from bowls practice has been spared prison.

Graham Cheetham pulled out on to the A361 and passenger Keith Anderson died after a Land Rover smashed into the side of the Toyota Prius.

The 72-year-old was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday after admitting causing death by careless driving following the crash at the Wykham Lane junction north of Bloxham in November.

Prosecutor Rachel Drake became emotional herself as she read a statement from 72-year-old Mr Anderson’s family.

Reading it, she said: “Missing a husband, dad and granddad – words cannot explain the loss we have all experienced.”

She also said: “An exacerbating factor for the grief has been the absence of any kind of apology up until now.”

Alexander Stein, defending, said Cheetham, of The Daedings in Deddington, had lost a close friend and had since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said: “Mr Cheetham was advised to keep his distance and not say anything at all to Mr Anderson’s family and that was what he has done.

“(He) does have genuine heartfelt remorse in this case, not least of course because those two men were good friends.”

Cheetham, who has said he does not want to drive again, was also given a restorative justice order meaning he could apologise in a face-to-face meeting with his victim’s family.

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