Man who killed friend by driving carelessly on A17 spared jail

A MAN whose careless driving caused a crash which killed his friend has been spared jail despite a judge telling him he was “lucky” not to be going to prison.

Jamie Gibbs, 21, admitted causing the death of his friend, Taylor High, 19, in a crash on the A17 near to the road’s junction with Clenchwarton and Tilney All Saints.

However, Norwich Crown Court heard that Mr High’s parents Gary and Elaine did not want Gibbs, a schoolmate of their son in Lowestoft, to go to prison.

Judge Peter Jacobs told Gibbs that had played a part in his decision to spare him jail.

He said: “Because you have got a very fine man (in Mr High) and a very forgiving man, much more than many would be, your sentence will be suspended.

“You have destroyed your friend’s life, his family’s life and your own life because you will wake up with this every day for the rest of your life.

“You are lucky not to be charged with causing death by dangerous driving and I suspect if the alternative was not there, the crown would have prosecuted you for that and you would have been convicted.”

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The court heard how Mr High, from Lowestoft, had been a passenger in Gibbs’ Renault Clio travelling along the road from King’s Lynn heading towards Skegness at around 10.15pm on March 26.

Prosecutor Richard White said witnesses had seen Gibbs, of Hall Road, Oulton Broad, overtaking a stream of five to six vehicles on the single carriageway road.

He collided with a Peugeot travelling on the opposite carriageway as other cars tried to brake and let Gibbs back in.

Gibbs, who walks with a crutch after spending more than a month in hospital with serious injuries, wept in court as Mr White said his friend had died at the scene.

Judge Jacobs said sending Gibbs - who pleaded guilty to a charge of causing death by careless driving - to prison would not achieve anything and gave him a 12-month suspended prison sentence, a four-year driving ban, a home curfew between 6pm Fridays and 6am Mondays and ordered him to pay �500 court costs.

Sgt Andy Hood said: “This was a tragic incident where many lives have been affected.

“Our sympathies remain with Taylor’s family, who have bravely faced up to what has happened and some of the family have had the compassion to forgive Jamie Gibbs.”

Mr and Mrs High have raised almost �10,000 for good causes in their son’s name, with the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston among the beneficiaries.