Driver jailed for 6 years over death of Bridport man

Driver jailed for 6 years over death of Bridport man

Published by George Sharpe at 3:45pm 20th January 2020.

A man from Bridport's been jailed for six years for causing the death of Steven Spear by dangerous driving.

Gary Clayton Craven, aged 32 and of Crock Lane, Bridport, was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and three offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving in connection with a collision on the A35 Sea Road South on Monday 13 November 2017.

He was also disqualified from driving for four years, with the ban due to begin when he is released from prison.

Craven was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday 20 January 2020 after being found guilty at an earlier trial at the same court.

Steven Spear
Steven Spear was 64 when he died in the collision on the A35 Sea Road South in 2017.

At around 11.15pm on the night of the crash a Mercedes E350 being driven by the defendant was involved in a collision with a Mitsubishi L200 Warrior pick-up truck being driven by 64-year-old Steven Spear from Bridport.

Sadly Mr Spear died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Craven's three passengers also sustained serious injuries. 

Craven ran away from the scene following the collision, leaving one of his passengers trapped in the rear seat of the car. He was located at his home address at around 1.50am on the morning of Tuesday 14 November 2017 and arrested.

Witnesses described seeing Craven driving at speeds in excess of 70mph through 30mph speed limits in Bridport town centre prior to the collision. Further witnesses reported seeing the vehicle travelling at up to 80mph around the time of the collision, which occurred on a 40mph stretch of road.

Inspector Joe Pardey, of the traffic unit, said: 

"Gary Craven drove in a dangerous manner on the night of Monday 13 November 2017, showing off his new car to his friends. He drove at speeds well above the limit and his actions have had a truly devastating impact on the family of Steven Spear.

"This case is another sad reminder of the fatal consequences that can result if motorists ignore the need to drive carefully and considerately. A car is not a thrill-seeking ride but a potentially lethal machine if not used properly.

"Our thoughts are with the family of Mr Spear and, while nothing can ever make up for the loss of their loved one, I can only hope that the conclusion of the court proceedings will help them move forward."

Steven's family have made the following statement:

"Steve was a wonderful man. He was a loving husband, father, stepfather, grandfather and brother, and a good friend to many. His death has profoundly affected many people's lives. He was a big personality and a generous spirit who was not only loved by his family and friends but also widely respected and liked by the community at large. 

Steven Spear

"Steve had always been involved with the wider community: He helped set up the Brixton Housing Co-operative, which took empty houses given to them by the council and converted them into flats for young people. A practical and inspiring solution to a housing shortage in the early 80's. After moving to Bridport over 20 years ago, he shared his experience and skills within the community here in Dorset; Steve was chair of Bradpole Parish Council and the village hall committee. He was also one of the founder members of the Gig Rowing Club. He was actively involved with the 'Waste Plant Campaign', 'Save the Bradpole Post Office Campaign' and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group with which he tried to develop better public services and foster a sense of community in Bridport.

"Steve was also a talented craftsman: After completing a degree at Central School of Art, he went on to the Royal College of Art to do a Masters in Furniture Design. He made his living as a carpenter and later in his life was able to use his expertise to restore historic buildings for The Landmark Trust. Locally he worked on Belmont House in Lyme Regis and restored the spiral staircase in Clavell Tower, Kilmington.

"Among the firemen who attended the scene - at least four knew Steve. The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks all to those from the fire service, paramedics, police and those involved with the judicial process who have shown such professionalism, kindness and respect for Steve and for the family. Since Steve's death we have received the most incredible outpouring of love and support from family, friends, colleagues and the community at large. The loss of Steve has left a huge hole in all our lives. No words can communicate the extent and profound impact of his death on all of us - we will miss him always. None the less he would have wanted us to remember the happy times we shared and embrace the love and life we have around us, just as he did.

"We hope that the verdict will send a clear message to all drivers that a vehicle is not a toy to be played with. Tragedies like this are avoidable and unnecessary and the rules of the road are there for a reason. Their impact goes way beyond that of the immediate victims and their loved ones.

"There are no winners in a case like this; we hope that Mr Craven will use his time in jail to reflect on his irresponsible behaviour, on the night that Steve was killed, and the impact that it has had on not only Steve's family and friends but also his own."