Death crash driver jailed
Family man died in the accident on the M69
A TRUCKER who killed a fellow lorry driver in a crash as he looked at porn on his phone has been jailed.
Felix Gillon, 56, a former sergeant in the Royal Engineers, was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving at Leicester Crown Court,
He was jailed for eight years for the smash which killed family man Kerry Pemberton on the M69 on May 3 last year.
During his trial, it was heard Gillon has looked up “porn star candy love” four minutes before the collision, and another 25 webpages were accessed just after – including pornographic images and galleries.
Witnesses saw Gillon drift in and out of the hard shoulder between two and four times on the M69 southbound carriageway at around 3.13pm.
Gillon’s Scania vehicle then struck Mr Pemberton’s Iveco lorry, with the 55-year-old being crushed against the safety barrier.
Mr Pemberton survived the initial impact but was trapped under wreckage.
He was freed by firefighters but died of a heart attack in an ambulance on the way to hospital.
He had broken down on the motorway and was awaiting recovery on the hard shoulder at the time of the smash.
Gillon had later been spotted by an off-duty officer, throwing his phone away after the incident in a bid to dispose of the incriminating evidence.
The lorry driver, of Johnson Road, Bedworth, denied one count of causing death by dangerous driving and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
He attempted to place the blame with Mr Pemberton saying the broken down vehicle had been parked partly on the carriageway.
But a jury of eight men and four women found him guilty of both charges on Thursday.
Gillon was jailed for eight years and banned from driving for four years.
Sentencing him at Leicester Crown Court, the Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told him: “You have been found guilty on overwhelming evidence.
“You told a series of lies to seek to cover your tracks but the jury saw through it all.”
He said Gillon had “carefully, deliberately and surreptitiously” disposed of his phone after the incident.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: “The defendant sought to dispose of a key, indeed critical, piece of evidence that he knew would significantly incriminate him of serious charges.
“He disassembled the phone and scattered it when he thought no-one else was watching.
“He did it carefully deliberately and surreptitiously 30 minutes after the collision, realising he was seriously in trouble – but was spotted by an off-duty officer.” Mr Haddon-Cave added the defendant had wrongly claimed the victim was responsible for the collision.
The judge said: “He falsely claimed Mr Pemberton was to blame by parking his lorry so it protruded into the nearside lane, it must have caused additional distress to Mr Pemberton’s family, but let me make it clear, he parked perfectly properly on the hard shoulder.”
The judge added: “You have privately expressed remorse but it would have been better demonstrated in criminal proceedings.”
He concluded by commending Mr Pemberton’s family for their “quiet dignity” throughout the trial.
He said: “Nothing will bring back Kerry Pemberton, but a measure of justice has been served in this case.”
Gillon’s conduct was even more serious than text-messaging whilst driving because of the level of distraction involved the judge added.
As the verdicts were announced Gillon showed no emotion, but Mr Pemberton’s relatives wept and quietly comforted one another.
In a victim impact statement read by prosecutor James Bide-Thomas, Mr Pemberton’s partner, Cheryl, said: “His death has been the truly hardest time for all of us.
“I just sit and wait for him to come home every day and I am broken-hearted.
“Kerry brought me anything I wanted over the years.
“I miss the kiss I would get when he came home from work, the cuddles with his long, powerful arms and his smile.
“He was a very affectionate man and we all miss him dearly.”
Peter Cooper, defending, said Gillon had served in the Army as part of the Royal Engineers between 1988 and 1991, and in the same period had obtained his Heavy Goods Vehicle qualifications.
Mr Cooper also added: “There was clearly some awareness from him about what was happening in traffic.”
DC Burns, the investigating officer from Leicestershire Police, said following the case: “Not only did Gillon blatantly disregard the law he attempted to cover his tracks by getting rid of the evidence.
“His actions that day, no doubt, resulted in the death of an innocent man.
“I’m pleased he has been found guilty of the offences and I hope this case will highlight the dangers road users are putting themselves and others in when they ignore the law which is there to
A lorry driver was watching pornography on his mobile phone when he crashed into a broken down truck and killed the driver. Felix Gillon was seen throwing away his mobile phone after the collision on the southbound carriageway of the M69, in Leicestershire, on the afternoon of May 3, last year.
Felix Gillon, left, and Kerry Pemberton with his wife Cheryl (right).