Driver kills man in crash by falling asleep at wheel after wild camping

Tired driver killed grandpa by falling asleep at the wheel after wild camping

David Henderson died in the accident and his dog had to be euthanized due to the extent of his injuries (Image: North News and Pictures)

A man who fell asleep behind the wheel after wild camping caused the death of a beloved grandpa, a court has found.

David Henderson, 76, was killed on September 5, 2020 on his granddaughter’s birthday.

Alan Lockey, 62, crashed into him after turning off the A697 north of Morpeth.

He had fallen asleep under a tarp in The Cheviots, Northumberland, after a cold and windy night of wild camping.

Lockey initially claimed he had an epileptic seizure, but later pleaded guilty, implying he experienced “microsleep.”

He has now been sentenced to nine months in prison at Newcastle Crown Court and two years’ driving ban.

The court heard that Lockey had been wild camping with two friends at The Cheviots the night before the fatal collision 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, drove a Ford C-Max while Mr Henderson, of Blyth, drove north in a Renault Clio.

Judge Edward Bindloss said: “As you fell asleep at the wheel, your car left its lane and collided head-on with the Renault. Mr Henderson died as a result of the injuries he sustained after the collision.

“It was a straight road and you were driving under the speed limit. You got up early, you were unable to drive when you reached the point of the collision.’

Mr Henderson’s wife Pat said in a victim impact statement Mr Henderson is a fit, healthy and active man who adores his family and is kind, caring and fun with a “joie de vivre”.

She said: “He had so much to look forward to. The irony of his death is heartbreaking. He was a mechanic and kept his car in perfect condition. He died in a way that he tried to make sure none of us died.

“It was our granddaughter’s 12th birthday the day he died and he was so looking forward to seeing her.”

A general view of Newcastle Crown Court where the inquest into the death of Raoul Moat is taking place.

Newcastle Crown Court heard strong statements from David’s family (Image: PA)

His son Paul Henderson added: “I still don’t have a degree. My feelings range between confusion and anger. He was a loving and honorable man. His neighbors lined the streets to pay their respects.’

His granddaughter Abigail Henderson said: “My sister’s birthday will always be the day our grandfather was killed. His death has affected all of our driving and my confidence is shattered. I passed my test the day before he was killed.’

Her sister Megan, who turned 12 on the day of his death, added: “None of us had to say goodbye to him. He came to our house the day before to drop my cards and present himself, but I was out with my friends so I never saw him.

“I loved my grandfather so much. He was really funny and always playing. Once I even painted his nails and he forgot and went out with painted nails. I miss grandpa every day.”

David’s dog, who was in the car, had to be euthanized due to the seriousness of his injuries.

The court heard that Lockey is married, has three children and two grandchildren, and worked as a clerk in a factory.

His attorney said he had no criminal record and no history of bad driving, the accident had affected his mental well-being and that he was remorseful.

He added that Lockey’s mother died in a similar collision 30 years ago.

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Justin Scaccy

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