Family of boy, 3, killed by runaway 2-tonne trailer blasts ‘joke’ sentence for driver who walks free from court

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A driver whose trailer came detached and killed a three-year-old boy has been spared jail – to the fury of his victim’s family.

Relatives
of Freddie Hussey blasted the ‘joke’ sentence given to driver Tony
Davies after he admitted causing death by careless driving.

The
boy’s mother Donna said the whole family had ‘nightmares and flashbacks’
after Freddie’s death, and added that her other son Archie had spoken
about killing himself in the wake of the tragedy.

Tragic: Freddie Hussey died after being hit by a trailer which came off the Land Rover driven by Tony Davies, right

Fury: Freddie's parents Scott and Donna denounced the sentence given to Davies as a 'f****** joke'

Fury: Freddie’s parents Scott and Donna denounced the sentence given to Davies as a ‘f****** joke’

When
Davies was given a sentence of community service and a six-month
driving ban, Freddie’s father Scott branded Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC’s
sentence a ‘f****** joke’ and called Davies a ‘f****** t***’.

Mrs
Hussey agreed, calling the sentence ‘disgusting, no justice at all’
before shouting at Davies: ‘I hope you rot in hell. You are scum. He was
a beautiful little boy.’

In a moving statement, she earlier
described the impact on her family of Freddie’s death, which happened in
January last year when a portable cabin came loose from Davies’ Land
Rover and fatally crushed him.

Mrs Hussey said: ‘We have all
suffered with nightmares and flashbacks and we have had to put Archie to
bed most nights crying as he is missing his little brother, his best
friend and playmate and cannot comprehend how or why this has happened.

‘Archie doesn’t want to watch cartoons on Saturday morning any more, as this is something he used to do with Freddie.

‘It
is devastating as a parent when you have already lost one child and
your other one talks about killing himself so he can be with his
brother. He is only eight years old. What can you do or say?

‘Archie
and I have started therapy. I get flashbacks of the incident and events
before and after every day. I have woken up at night screaming as I
relive what happened in my dreams and it is terrifying.’

Crash: A trailer used as a workmen's cabin came off Davies' Land Rover and crushed Freddie to death

Crash: A trailer used as a workmen’s cabin came off Davies’ Land Rover and crushed Freddie to death

Faulty: This is the trailer coupling which failed, allowing the cabin to detach from the Land Rover

Faulty: This is the trailer coupling which failed, allowing the cabin to detach from the Land Rover

She
said that her husband, a lorry driver, is scared to return to work
because he was in his cab when he was told about the accident, but added
that the family cannot afford to move from the scene of the tragedy.

‘We have both been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder,’ she said.

‘We will never be able to forgive the driver for the death of our son. When Freddie died a big part of us died too.

‘No matter what I write I don’t think I can get the words to explain what a special, beautiful little boy Freddie was.’

Bristol
Crown Court heard how the tragedy happened on the morning of January 27
last year when the two-tonne trailer came loose from Davies’ Land Rover
in the suburb of Bedminster.

Prosecutor Anna Vigars said Freddie
had been walking behind his mother, playing in the puddles and laughing
and joking when the accident happened.

They had just dropped off
his eight-year-old brother at Parson Street Primary School when the
portable cabin detached, travelling around 10 or 12 car lengths before
mounting the pavement and crushing the toddler against a wall and
telegraph pole.

The trailer is used on building sites as an area
for workers to relax, and contained a kitchen area with a table and
basic facilities, and a toilet.

‘NIGHTMARES AND FLASHBACKS’: FREDDIE’S MOTHER DONNA DESCRIBES THE TERRIBLE TOLL HIS DEATH HAS TAKEN ON HIS FAMILY

‘We
have all suffered with nightmares and flashbacks and we have had to put
Archie to bed most nights crying as he is missing his little brother,
his best friend and playmate and cannot comprehend how or why this has
happened.

‘Archie doesn’t want to watch cartoons on Saturday morning any more, as this is something he used to do with Freddie.

‘It
is devastating as a parent when you have already lost one child and
your other one talks about killing himself so he can be with his
brother. He is only eight years old. What can you do or say?

‘Archie
and I have started therapy. I get flashbacks of the incident and events
before and after every day. I have woken up at night screaming as I
relive what happened in my dreams and it is terrifying.

‘I can’t
breathe and have trouble sleeping as a result. It’s always in my head
and it is killing me. I know in my heart we did nothing wrong that day
but I still go over the ‘what ifs’, especially when I can’t sleep at
night. People tell me that I appear so strong, that I seem to be coping
so well, they have no idea.

‘I am trying to keep my family
together, to try to keep everyday life as near to normal as possible to
help my husband Scott and Archie, but I’m screaming inside, our lives
have been changed forever and will never be the same again.’

‘We
have both been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and
post-traumatic stress disorder. We will never be able to forgive the
driver for the death of our son. When Freddie died a big part of us died
too.

‘No matter what I write I don’t think I can get the words to explain what a special, beautiful little boy Freddie was.

‘He
should still be here and nothing can bring him back. That’s all we
want. Part of us died that day and we have to learn to live with the
constant pain and hurt caused by something that should never have
happened.

‘We are all devastated. We all feel numb, empty, broken
and these are just a few of our emotions. If it wasn’t for our other son
I don’t think I would be here now to write this. It has just been hell
and has tested my faith in just about everything.

‘It is hard for
us living across the road from the trailer company and doors away from
the scene of the accident and it’s a constant reminder every time we
look out the window or step outside. We have to walk past the scene
every day.

‘Freddie was amazing; he was the happiest, cheekiest,
loving little boy ever. He was always smiling; he always gave us the
biggest kisses and cuddles.

‘His smile melted any heart and you
could never be cross at him as he just smiled at you, even if he was
naughty. We called him “Freddie Boo”.

‘He had many friends and was
very sociable. He was loved by so many and touched so many people. He
was very bright for his age. Freddie loved going to nursery, he also
loved playing outdoors. He loved sticks and jumping in muddy puddles.

‘He
was obsessed with playing with cars and Fireman Sam. He said when he
grew up he wanted to be a fireman and play rugby like his big brother.
He had a big, bright future ahead of him and now it’s just gone and this
should never ever have happened.’

Much-loved: Freddie's family paid tribute to the little boy as the killer driver was sentenced today

Much-loved: Freddie’s family paid tribute to the little boy as the killer driver was sentenced today

Family: The boy's grandmother Angela Sims poses with a photograph of him

Family: The boy’s grandmother Angela Sims poses with a photograph of him

A
passing lorry driver tried to resuscitate Freddie and paramedics
arrived within minutes, but the boy died shortly afterwards at Bristol
Children’s Hospital.

The court heard the tragedy has been
attributed to a handbrake lever being in the wrong place, which caused
the trailer to come adrift.

‘During the course of the examination
the police found the Land Rover and the trailer were in good condition,
save for the handbrake handle,’ Mrs Vigars said. ‘Had there been proper
coupling there is no question of them coming apart.’

CCTV footage
was shown of Davies, who worked for Arthur Booy Transport in Bristol,
hitching up the trailer to his Land Rover before setting off that day.

At
a previous hearing Davies, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to causing
death by careless driving. He had denied the more serious charge of
causing death by dangerous driving.

Adam Vaitilingam QC,
defending, described the effect the tragedy has had upon Davies saying
he was a ‘different person – a shell. He is very withdrawn’.

‘The consequence of the accident is too awful to contemplate but his culpability is at the lowest level it could be,’ he said.

‘He
has accepted responsibility for the death of this young child. It is
not something he will be forgiven for but he will not forgive himself
either.’

Memorial: Flowers left at the scene of the accident in Bristol last January

Memorial: Flowers left at the scene of the accident in Bristol last January

Truck: The Land Rover being removed from the road after the fatal disaster

Truck: The Land Rover being removed from the road after the fatal disaster

Passing
sentence, Judge Mercer said the guidelines for causing death by
careless driving focussed upon the quality of the driving but this case
centred upon the coupling of the trailer to the Land Rover.

Speaking
of the imact on Freddie’s family, he said: ‘The grief of his parents
and those that knew and loved him, the loss to them is beyond words.

‘His
mother very bravely read out to the court her statement expressing the
difficult circumstances and the effect of what happened has had upon
them. No one who heard can be other than deeply moved by it.

‘By
your plea of guilty you accept your carelessness, as it was, caused his
death and you will live with that burden for your life, I have no doubt.

‘An
innocent bystander at the scene of the tragedy heard you say, “I think I
have killed a little boy,” and describes your state of emotion at that
time.’

Judge Mercer said there was ‘no suggestion’ that Davies was
driving ‘anything but entirely properly’, adding: ‘The carelessness
lies between the coupling of the Land Rover and the trailer,’ he said.

‘Had
the danger been obvious to a careful and competent driver the offence
would have been causing death by dangerous driving. It was not an
obvious risk but a risk you accept you should have been alerted to.

‘You
failed to appreciate that there was or might be a problem that the
coupling was not properly locked into place. Had you been alerted to
that risk I am quite satisfied you would have not driven from that yard.

‘In
my considered judgement the level of carelessness on my assessment
falls short of that which requires or justifies an immediate custodial
sentence.’

Davies, who has qualified as a HGV driver since Freddie’s death, did not comment as he left court.

His
solicitor Tim Hayden said afterwards: ‘Mr Davies would like me to say
that this has been a tragic set of circumstances, which he has
acknowledged all the way through and he has pleaded guilty as soon as
the offence was put to him.

‘He doesn’t regard this outcome in any
way something to be celebrated and his feelings all the way through
have been for the family and the loss they have suffered.

‘Ever
since this accident, he has effectively been withdrawn and the shell of a
man he once was previously and that will continue because the
circumstances of this child’s death have not altered as a result of the
hearing that has taken place today.’

In a statement released after
the sentencing, Mr and Mrs Hussey said: ‘It’s very difficult to put
into words how we feel about losing our beloved youngest son Freddie.

‘Our son has been taken away from us, and we will never have the opportunity to see Freddie grow and have his own life.

‘We’ve
been left to pick up the pieces. Our family life has been shattered and
we now have to try and continue with our lives knowing this tragedy
could have been prevented.

‘No sentence will ever reflect the
enormous loss and devastation we as a family have suffered. We have to
find a way to live with this, but we’re relieved the court process is
now over.’

| Daily Mail Online

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