A DANGEROUS driver who crashed into a couple’s car, causing the death of one and serious injuries to another, has been jailed for four and a half years.

Paul Bird was speeding along the B4202 in the dark when he failed to stop at the junction with the A456 at Clows Top, colliding with another car on February 2, 2018.

The 45-year-old, of Ludlow Avenue, Warndon Villages, Worcester, had admitted causing the death of emergency medical technician Gavin Hunt, and serious injury to his wife, Alison Hunt.

Speaking at Bird’s sentencing at crown court on Monday (January 21), Mark Lister, defending, said his client “can’t explain why what happened, happened”.

“But perhaps his statement about being on ‘autopilot’ is the only explanation,” he added.

The court heard that Bird was on his way home from work but ended up on an unfamiliar road, prior to the crash at around 7.30pm.

Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, said the defendant was travelling at 37.9mph when his car struck the vehicle being driven by Mr Hunt – though had been going as fast as 49mph, despite the limit being 30.

In a statement read out in court by Mr Whitfield, Mrs Hunt said she had been “left feeling a failure” after the death of her husband, 52, who worked for Hereford and Worcester Ambulance for more than 20 years.

“We loved each other unconditionally. He was loved by everyone who came across him,” she said.

Mrs Hunt went on to say: “I feel vulnerable and scared of my future. I don’t live, I just exist.”

CCTV footage of the crash was shown in court, though Mrs Hunt did not watch it. She had suffered a fractured pelvis and fractured pubic bone, as a result of the incident, as well as soft tissue damage and bleeding in the pelvic area.

Two vertebrae were also found to have been separated at the top of her neck.

Whenever Mr Hunt was not working Friday nights, he and his wife would go for a meal at the Colliers Arms pub in Clows Top and were on their way home to Tenbury on the night in question.

Judge Nicholas Cartwright, referring to Bird, said: “You have demonstrated that you were a hardworking family man with many positive aspects to your character. You did not start out to drive dangerously but that is what you did.

“You failed to give way at this crossroads despite the fact there was a busy A-road running across it.

“There were three signs warning of the junction and a give way sign at the junction. It was only as you were right at the junction you began to brake, having realised you had failed to give way.”

He described the factors which led up to the crash, including Bird’s “excessive speed” on the approach and him having failed to take notice of speed repeater signs on the approach.

The judge said Bird’s actions had “created a substantial risk of danger” before sentencing him to four and a half years custody for causing death by dangerous driving and two years and three months for causing serious injury, to run concurrently.

He is also disqualified from driving for two and a half years and must then take an extended driving test.

Judge Cartwright said Bird will likely serve two years and three months in prison before being released on licence into the community.