Lorry driver to be sentenced after killing police officer

Andrew Abernethy Photo:

A lorry driver from Oldham who caused the death of a police officer when his truck strayed on to the hard shoulder of a motorway is due to be sentenced.

Andrew Abernethy's truck left the M1, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, trapping Pc Mark Goodlad between his police car and another vehicle. Pc Goodlad was helping a stranded motorist at the time.

Last month, when Abernethy pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, Leeds Crown Court heard how it had still not been established why the crash happened.

Prosecutors said the incident showed classic signs of being a "sleep-related" collision but investigators found no evidence Abernethy had worked excessive hours or not slept. The court heard that the defendant maintains he was distracted because he had a pain in his eye.

Abernethy, 45, of Rembrandt Walk, Oldham, was driving an orange Scania articulated lorry which hit Pc Goodlad's marked BMW X5 police car and a grey Suzuki Swift on the southbound carriageway of the M1, near the village of Crigglestone, on October 24 last year.

The police car and the Suzuki were both stationary on the hard shoulder and officers at the time said Pc Goodlad, 41, was between the two vehicles, helping the 51-year-old woman who had been driving the Suzuki. The woman suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Pc Goodlad, from Goole, East Yorkshire, had been an officer with West Yorkshire Police for 10 years. He left a widow, Helen, and a teenage son, Ben.

Hundreds of people turned out for the officer's funeral in November last year.

West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison told the service at Wakefield Cathedral: "He stands for what is best in all of us. We shouldn't define heroes by the way they die but recognise them instead by the way they lived their lives. On that basis, Mark is a hero."

Abernethy will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.