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Driver who killed Oldbury vicar and his wife is jailed

Birmingham | News | Published:

A speeding driver who killed a minister and his wife in a horror crash has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Father-of-one Damon Richardson was yesterday locked up after admitting causing the death of Rev John Bedford and his wife Audrey in the smash in May last year.

The 23-year-old mechanic was travelling at more than 80mph in his souped-up Audi A3 along the Wolverhampton Road in Oldbury, which has a limit of 40mph, at around 1pm on May 23.

When he hit the Bedfords, who were in their son's Volvo, he was still going more than 60mph.

He caused them to crash into a lamppost, and they died at the scene just a mile from their home.

During Richardson's sentence hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court, prosecuting barrister Mr Hugh O'Brien Quinn said one eye-witness had described the 'mega speed' of his car.

He said: "Investigations carried out at the scene reveal tyre tracks left by the Audi A3.

"The defendant was travelling at 84mph a the start of those tracks, and was at 61mph at the point of the collision."

The court heard that the car had been modified by a previous owner so that its performance was improved and it was also lowered.

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The couple, both in their 80s, were at the forefront of the Baptist church in Oldbury for more than 40 years and court also heard from the victims' devastated family.

A statement from their daughter Helen Balfour was read out by Mr O'Brien Quinn.

It reads: "They were two of my very best friends as well as my parents, so full of life. They were not old, they were mature, even when they faced physical decline.

"I feel robbed of a chance to nurse them and repay them for their love and devotion."

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Defending barrister Mr Steven Bailey said Richardson has tried to make amends by finding out more about his victims, and had offered to apologise directly to the family.

Mr Bailey added: "His intention and hope now is to try to live better.

"Perhaps that's the best tribute he could offer anybody, and the best apology and expression of remorse he can offer."

Richardson, from Churchill in Frankley Green, Birmingham, was also disqualified from driving for five years.

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