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Man jailed after Hopton death crash

PUBLISHED: 15:55 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:45 05 July 2010

A MAN who killed a father of three after his car crossed a central reservation on the A12 at Hopton while he was showing off to his friends was jailed for six and half years today.

A MAN who killed a father of three after his car crossed a central reservation on the A12 at Hopton while he was showing off to his friends was jailed for six and half years today.

Warren Fernandez's BMW was travelling so fast that it flew through the air and spun 180 degrees before it slammed into Andrew Mackay's car travelling in the other direction at Hopton.

Mr Mackay died at the scene of the crash and his three children and partner had to be rushed to hospital.

The London family were returning from a holiday when Fernandez smashed into their car on the evening of April 12.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Fernandez, from Gorleston, had been drinking and was spotted driving dangerously down the A12 by tailgating and overtaking cars at the last moment before the fatal collision.

He had two friends in his BMW and was said to be trying to impress them with his driving.

Jailing Fernandez for causing death by dangerous driving, Judge Alasdair Darroch described the 41-year-old's driving as quite appalling.

Jude Durr prosecuting, said: “The collision was the culmination of a sustained piece of dangerous driving. He appeared to have been showing off to his friends.”

The court heard that other motorists, including a bus driver, had seen Fernandez driving up to speeds off 100 mph and several feared for their safety as he over took them.

Fernandez then lost control of his car and as it crossed the verged central reservation it spun at 180 degrees and was airborne.

After the collision Fernandez unsuccessfully tried to start his car and he shouted out to Mr Mackay's partner Gillian Helder: “It's your fault. He came onto us.”

Insp Paul McCarthy then tried to calm down Fernandez by saying that someone was dead in the other vehicle and the children were terrified but he replied he did not care, swore and then accused police of being racist.

Ms Helder and the three children, aged two to 14, all suffered injuries and had to be treated for four nights at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

They had been holidaying in Hemsby and were driving back to London after eating fish and chips.

Fernandez had been drinking in Oulton Broad before the accident and a test revealed that he would have been at least twice over the drink drive limit at the time of the crash. He had two previous convictions for drink driving and three for driving while banned.

Simon Molyneux, representing Fernandez, said his client was genuinely remorseful and devastated by his actions.

Judge Darroch said: “This is quite an appalling case and you are solely responsible for the terrible consequences of your driving.

“You have caused serious injury to others, apart from the person who was sadly killed.”

Fernandez, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was also banned from driving for seven years.

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