UK

Distracted Driver Killed Teaching Assistant While 'Browsing Porn Dating Sites'

02/06/2014 13:47 BST | Updated 02/06/2014 13:59 BST

A lorry driver was browsing pornographic dating websites on his mobile phone when he ploughed into a stationary car and killed a young teaching assistant.

Ian Glover, 44, was flicking through profiles of women on the explicit sites while he was driving his 44-tonne Mercedes lorry on the A5 between Telford and Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

A court heard Laura Jane Thomas, 20, and her fiance Lewis Pagett, 19, had broken down on the same road and had pulled on the grass verge with their hazard lights on.

The couple had got out of the car and stood on the other side of the barrier when Glover ploughed into the stationary Vauxhall.

As a result of the smash, the car flew over the safety barrier – killing Laura and injuring her fiance.

laura thomas

Laura Thomas, 20, was killed when a lorry driver crashed into her car while browsing porn

Glover – who had worked as a driver for Sainsbury’s for 10 years – admitted causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was jailed for five years at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

Judge Robin Onions said: “You were on these sites at the point of impact.

“For many miles you were not paying proper attention. This was utterly avoidable.”

Glover, of Birmingham, was travelling at between 50mph and 56mph when he hit the Vauxhall at 8.20am on July 21 2013.

He told police that he could not remember what had happened before the crash.

But tests on mobile phones found in his lorry revealed he was looking at the explicit dating sites.

Prosecutor Hugh O'Brien Quinn said: “Mr Glover said that the only distraction in his car was the radio.

“But two of the three phones found showed one site had been used while moving more than 10 times, including while on the M54 and the A5.

“It was a clear day and the Vauxhall would have been visible for a quarter of a mile but the defendant did not see it at all and drove straight into it.”

Glover said he was “deeply ashamed” that he had viewed the websites while driving.

Laura had been travelling to Aberystwyth for a day by the sea with her partner Lewis – who was also seriously injured in the crash.

She was a teaching assistant at Marshlands Special School in Stafford.

The 20-year-old also volunteered every week with the Riding for the Disabled Association.

In a statement which was read out during the hearing, her mother Lisa Thomas said: "Our family has been left broken. There is a large gaping hole which will never be filled.

“The whole village has been left in shock. We want her to walk through the door and to see her beautiful smile.

“I keep getting flashbacks of seeing her in hospital and the sheer despair of losing her.

“As a mum your goal is to care for your children. Laura did everything right on that day and it still wasn’t enough...

"This is something I will never get over.”