A LORRY driver from Ford has been jailed for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to crushing a motorist in East Sussex two years ago when he lost control of his lorry on a bend.

Steven Copping, 51, from Hildenborough in Kent died instantly when a speeding 41-tonne lorry carrying scrap metal overturned and crushed his Volvo V60 on the A27 between Polegate and Lewes in 2015.

David Hare, 55, from Ford was subsequently arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving - a charge which he denied on two separate occasions.

Facing trial in September 2016 and June 2017, the jury at Lewes Crown Court could not agree on a verdict and a hung jury was declared. However at the retrial, Hare pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of driving without due care and attention and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and given a four-year driving ban at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (September 4).

Sergeant Dan Pitcher of the East Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Throughout the case the investigation team has examined mobile phone data, data from the vehicle’s tachograph and engine electronic control units. Our focus was to find out what caused or contributed to the collision and ultimately the tragic death of Steven Copping.

“In addition to this we have supported the family during the investigation and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.

“This case is a stark reminder of how vulnerable we are as road users; Sussex Police will relentlessly pursue those who break the law, which in this case had devastating consequences.

“In this case, Hare was travelling too fast, and while doing so he was distracted and lost control of his 41-tonne articulated lorry.”

After the sentencing, Mr Copping wife Karen released the following tribute. She said: “On that fateful day on 5 March 2015, Steve went happily off to work. We didn't for one second imagine that he would not be returning home to his loving family. Since that day we have suffered unimaginable pain through our loss.

“Steve was an amazing dad, and a loving and devoted husband. He was funny and friendly with a massive heart. He was loved by many and they have been a huge support to us always.

“I know that Mr Hare did not set out that morning to kill Steve but he did; through his actions we, as a family, are forever bereft.

“Nothing will bring Steve back home to us, but justice has taken its course and this gives us some solace. Our future will be marred by his absence and that will always be. He was taken from us so cruelly."