Family's relief as 'living nightmare' ends with death driver jailed for more than five years

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Family's relief as 'living nightmare' ends with death driver jailed for more than five years

10th June 2014

The family of a Liverpool pensioner knocked down and killed in November have said they are relieved their ‘living nightmare’ is finally over, after a judge sentenced the driver to five years and three months in prison.

Judge Stephen Everett sentenced Colin Unsworth, 47, at Liverpool Crown Court today (Thursday 10 October), after he had last month pleaded guilty to causing the death of 78-year-old Hugh Windrow by dangerous driving.

Mr Windrow, who was originally from the Netherfield Road area before moving to Fazakerley in later life, was hit by Unsworth’s Ford Fiesta car as he walked along the A580 East Lancashire Road in Norris Green on November 16 last year. After spending more than a month in hospital in a critical condition – during which his family visited him every day - the retired butcher sadly died from his injuries just a week before Christmas. The court heard how Unsworth had a documented history of issues with drugs and admitted using heroin and crack cocaine the day before the incident.

Speaking after today’s sentencing, Mr Windrow’s sister, Val Moran, said the whole family had endured a year-long ordeal since the incident. “A beloved brother to seven sisters and one brother, a father, grandfather and great-grandfather has been taken from us, and our family has been left devastated by this tragedy,” said Mrs Moran, 65, of Wrightington.

“It has been a living nightmare for us since the day this happened. We had to watch as Hugh failed to recover in hospital before finally leaving us forever, and then have had to wait almost a year for the man responsible to be brought to justice.

“Hugh was an old-fashioned gentleman, who despite his age was always dressed immaculately,” she said. “He enjoyed nothing more than watching his beloved Everton play and was a huge fan of horse racing, but moreover he was a loving and loved member of a large family, and we all still feel the loss to this day.”

“We are relieved that the judge has seen fit to ensure the man responsible cannot do this to any other family, and we will take some comfort from that, however small.”

Richard Crabtree, a specialist fatal accidents solicitor with Fentons Solicitors, part of Slater & Gordon, is representing the family. “This was a tragedy that simply need not have happened,” he said. “Mr Windrow had just been walking home, and his life was taken from him because of the reckless actions of one individual. The family’s sudden loss of their loved one was then compounded by the ongoing problems and delays in the process of bringing the driver responsible to justice.

“Although Mr Windrow succumbed to his injuries in December, further post mortem examinations meant the family was unable to hold his funeral until two months later. Similarly although the driver finally pleaded guilty at last month’s hearing, there have been several delays for adjournment which has served to prolong the family’s suffering.”

Mr Crabtree said today’s sentence was only the first step in the family’s continued fight for justice. “Whilst we obviously welcome the judge’s decision to impose a custodial term,” he said. “more importantly we hope it serves as a stark reminder that a lack of care and attention on the road can cause the death of others and also the destruction of lives.

“As we prepare for our next course of action, pursuing a civil claim against the driver’s insurers, it would be inappropriate to offer any further comment,” he said.

Liverpool Echo