10:23am Friday 18th October 2013
A MOTORIST who caused the deaths of a driver and a motorcyclist while racing along the Heads of the Valleys road has been jailed for five years.
Luke Anthony Jones, 24, of Dan y Coed, Clydach, was sentenced yesterday at Cardiff Crown Court.
Peugeot driver Phillip Bath, 29, and biker Glyndwr John Evans, 49, both died following the collision on October 27 last year.
Jones was driving a Skoda Fabia on the Gilwern to Brynmawr stretch of the A465 at the time of the accident, at around 12.35pm. Witnesses said Jones and Mr Bath, who did not know each other, had started racing each other about three miles before the collision.
Witnesses said they saw the two cars overtaking on the inside and outside lanes in a “frightening” manner, like “lunatics”, and that they were using the road “like a race track”.
Judge David Williams told Jones: “At the time of the accident you were the lead car. Because you were speeding you failed to brake in time to avoid a car travelling in front of you. Phillip Bath was forced to brake and he lost control of his vehicle.
“This was an outrageous piece of driving over quite a distance.”
The court heard when Mr Bath, from Cwm, lost control of his car he swerved into the third lane, where he collided with two motorcyclists travelling in the opposite direction.
It is thought motorcyclist Mr Evans, from Glynneath, died instantly, while Mr Bath died the following day after being taken to hospital by air ambulance.
The court heard Jones did not stop following the accident. He was followed to Brynmawr by a couple who had witnessed the event, and who urged him to return to the scene, but Jones told them the accident was nothing to do with him.
The couple gave his registration number to the police, who arrested him in a Brynmawr pub where he was drinking at around 6pm that same day.
The court also heard Mr Bath’s yellow Peugeot was unroad worthy and had failed its MoT, which may have contributed to him losing control.
Jones’ defence barrister, Caroline Rees, told the court he was remorseful and “devastated by what he has done” and that the incident was “completely out of character”.
He had previously pleaded guilty on September 24 to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Jones was sentenced to five years in prison and was disqualified from driving for five years.
There were heated scenes in the courtroom as Jones’ family members cried as he was sentenced. A friend or relative of one of the dead men shouted “murderer” as Jones was led away, and there was an argument between Jones’ family and the victim’s families.
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