David Henderson died in the crash and his dog had to be put down due to the scale of its injuries (Picture: North News and Pictures)
A man who fell asleep behind the wheel after wild camping caused the death of a much-loved grandad, a court has found.
David Henderson, 76, was killed on his granddaughter’s birthday on September 5, 2020.
Alan Lockey, 62, crashed into him after he veered across the A697, north of Morpeth.
He had fallen asleep after a cold and windy night wild camping under a tarpaulin in The Cheviots, Northumberland.
Lockey initially claimed he had an epileptic seizure but later pleaded guilty and suggested he’d experienced a ‘micro-sleep’.
He has now been jailed for nine months at Newcastle Crown Court and was banned from driving for two years.
The court heard Lockey had been wild camping in The Cheviots with two friends the night before the fatal collision occurred on the A697 at 10.54am on September 5 2020.
Text messages indicated he regretted using a ‘tarp’ as it was ‘windy as hell’.
Lockey, 62, of Delaval Avenue, North Shields, was driving a Ford C-Max while Mr Henderson, of Blyth, was heading north in a Renault Clio.
Judge Edward Bindloss said: ‘When you fell asleep at the wheel your car veered from its path into a head-on collision with the Renault. Mr Henderson died as a result of the injuries he suffered following the collision.
‘It was a straight road and you were driving below the speed limit. You rose early, you were not in a fit state to be driving by the time you reached the point of the collision.’
Mr Henderson’s wife, Pat, said in a victim impact statement Mr Henderson was a fit, healthy and active man who adored his family and was kind, caring and funny with a ‘zest for life’.
She said: ‘He had so much planned to look forward to. The irony of how he died is heartbreaking. He was a mechanic and kept his car in perfect condition. He died in a way he tried to ensure none of us did.
‘It was our granddaughter’s 12th birthday on the day he died and he was so looking forward to seeing her.’
Newcastle Crown Court heard powerful statements from David’s family (Picture: PA)
His son, Paul Henderson, added: ‘I still don’t have closure. My feelings range between confusion and anger. He was a loving and honourable man. His neighbours lined the streets to pay their respects.’
His granddaughter, Abigail Henderson, said: ‘My sister’s birthday will always be the day our grandad was killed. His death has affected all of our driving, with my confidence being knocked. I passed my test the day before he was killed.’
Her sister, Megan, who turned 12 on the day he died, added: ‘None of us got to say goodbye to him. He came to our house the day before to drop my cards and present off but I was out with my friends so never seen him.
‘I loved my grandad so much. He was really funny and always played. One time I even painted his nails and he forget and went out with them painted. I miss grandad every single day.’
David’s dog, who had been in the car, had to be put down due to severity of its injuries.
The court heard Lockey is married with three children and two grandchildren and worked as an operative in a factory.
His barrister said has no previous convictions and no history of bad driving, the crash has affected his psychological wellbeing and he is remorseful.
He added that Lockey’s mother died in a similar collision 30 years ago.
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