'Missed beyond measure' says Wigton mother of son killed by careless driver

24.11.23 Ben Law Credit: Cumbria Police
Ben Law, 22, of Wigton, was a front seat passenger of a BMW car being driven by Shaun Hillary in excess of the 60mph speed limit when it crashed into the side of a milk tanker on the A596 at Micklethwaite on 21 March, 2021. Credit: Cumbria Police

The mother of a 22-year-old man said he is "missed beyond measure" after the driver who caused his death was jailed for nine months.

Shaun Hillary of Wigton was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court on 24 November following a crash on the A596 at Micklethwaite on 21 March 2021, that killed his front-seat passenger, Ben Law.

Mr Law, 22, also from Wigton, was a front seat passenger in Hillary's BMW 330D and died from his injuries sustained in the crash on 3 April 2021.

The rear-seat passenger also suffered serious injuries and Hillary himself sustained significant injuries.

Hillary was driving from Wigton to Carlisle when he crashed the BMW side-on into a milk tanker that had started to pull out of a farm to turn right onto the A596. The driver braked when he saw Hillary rounding a slight left-hand bend as he approached.

Hillary saw the milk tanker but lost control of his vehicle and was unable to stop safely before crashing into it.

In her victim statement, Mr Law's mother said: " I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about Ben– ever. People always comment on how polite, helpful, considerate, empathetic, accepting he was. His friends still honor and miss him."

PC Tim Fowkes from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit advised people to drive responsibly and said "speed limits must not be ignored." Credit: Cumbria Police

An investigation into the collision by the Serious Collision Investigation Unit and a forensic collision investigator found that Hillary was driving between 76mph and 82mph on a 60mph stretch of road immediately prior to the crash.

PC Tim Fowkes from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "Hillary was driving at between 16 to 22mph over the speed limit on his approach to the scene of the collision. Had he been travelling at the speed limit, it is highly unlikely that the collision would have occurred.

"Hillary made the decision to exceed the speed limit on that tragic evening. This decision increased the overall stopping distance of his vehicle and ultimately led to the loss of a young man’s life.“

In her victim statement, Ben Law's mother said her son is "missed beyond measure" and his funeral was "one of the saddest days" of her life. Credit: Cumbria Police

Mr Law's mother explained in her victim statement the ripple effect of her son's death and how his loss has affected so many. She said this became very clear on the day of his funeral, which she described as being "one of the saddest days" of her life.

She said: "He was held in such regard by the community, they came together to give him the sendoff he deserved. The local shops and businesses closed so people could pay their respects. The streets were lined, people stood shoulder to shoulder, most of them wearing hats because they knew Ben loved a hat.

"In all my years of living in Wigton I have never witnessed such a turnout. I don’t think anyone else has. On one of the saddest days of my life I was filled with pride, that my 22-year-old son had had such an effect on so many people, my baby boy was classed as one of Wigton’s legends, a title that isn’t easily achieved.

"I can’t even begin to put into words the true impact that losing Ben has had on us as a family. Ben you are missed beyond measure." 

Hillary was sentenced to nine months imprisonment at Carlisle Crown Court on 24 November and also given a 30-month driving disqualification. Credit: ITV

His mother explained she could not call her "my Ben" because he was "our Ben" to everyone who knew him and continued: "I loved Ben long before I ever met him, since I felt that first flutter I knew he was going to be special.

"The impact from losing Ben wasn’t just on us, he left behind a sister. Her heart was broken that day too. When Ben was born he had two mothers, Chelsea doted on him. She couldn’t do enough for him. Their relationship wasn’t like your typical brother sister, they had an unbreakable bond."

Hillary was also given a 30-month driving disqualification and PC Fowkes advised people to drive responsibly stressing "speed limits are not a target and must not be ignored."

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