Jail term for driver who killed life-long friend

Wilson Sherrard
Wilson Sherrard

A motorist who caused the death of his friend in a Co Londonderry road crash has been jailed for 12 months.

Richard Frazer, 44, had been driving on the Belfast-to-Londonderry Road near Claudy when his car veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a van in August 2016.

The collision claimed the life of his front seat passenger, 60-year-old Wilson Sherrard who lived in the Fountain area of Londonderry.

Mr Frazer, who now lives in Stanley Road, Portsmouth, pleaded guilty last month to causing the death of Mr Sherrard by careless driving, and to inflicting multiple injuries on the driver of the van by careless driving.

When he appeared in court again today, Mr Frazer was told by judge Philip Babington that there was no evidence of him having braked, or of him trying to swerve to avoid the collision.

A forensic report presented to the court said the crash was caused by either Mr Frazer having a period of inattention or temporary loss of control of his car.

At the earlier hearing in August, a prosecution barrister told the court that Mr Frazer could offer no explanation for the collision, and that none of the evidence provided an explanation. However, the barrister said the incident bore the hallmarks of the car driver having fallen asleep at the wheel. This was denied by Mr Frazer during his police interviews, who insisted that he was neither tired nor exhausted.

A defence barrister told the same court that Mr Frazer had instructed him to offer apologies to the family of Mr Sherrard and to the van driver.

Mr Frazer, who suffered serious injuries in the collision, was also disqualified from driving for four years.

The judge said: “There is nothing that I can do to turn the clock back and I fully understand the anguish, sadness and devastation of the Sherrard family.”