Police body cam footage shows a shaken Matthew Topham explaining to police what had happened, minutes after a road crash on Christmas Day.
The lottery winner admitted causing the death of 75-year-old Mary Jane Regler by careless driving on December 25, 2019, after taking his eyes off the road to retrieve his screaming two-year-old son’s teddy bear.
The 31-year-old won £45 million on the EuroMillions in 2012, and Lincoln Crown Court heard he had spent some of the money on a collection of cars, a house for his wife’s parents and helping his dad retire.
After the hearing, Topham issued a statement which read:
“I cannot begin to express the remorse I feel about the tragic events of December 25, 2019.
"I am deeply sorry for my actions and the devastating impact that they have had on the Regler family, and I will carry that guilt with me forever.”
Giving evidence in his trial, Topham described his actions as “terrible”, but said every time his child let out the “piercing” scream it made him “crazy”.
He had been travelling home from visiting his wife’s parents when the crash occurred on Louth Road in North Cockerington, Lincolnshire, at around 5.50pm.
Mrs Regler died from severe chest injuries and Mr Regler suffered serious injuries.
A jury accepted the lottery winner’s submissions that his driving was only careless, and found him not guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Sentencing Topham on Thursday, Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight handed him a 16-week suspended sentence and told him he would be the subject of an electronic tag and curfew.
The defendant, of Swinderby, Lincolnshire, was also banned from driving for 12 months.
The judge told Topham she accepted he had to “carry the burden of taking a life”.
In a victim impact statement read by prosecution barrister Michael Cranmer-Brown, Mr Regler paid tribute to his “beloved” wife, adding: “My life has changed forever.”
He said: “No matter what happens, nothing can bring my wife back to me.
“It has ruined my life, but I will not let this dictate my life.
“I bear the driver no malice but I will never forgive him for what he has done to me and my family.”
Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Detective Inspector Joanna Reeves of Lincolnshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “The circumstances of the crash bring home just how very important it is for drivers to keep full attention on the road ahead.
“There are distractions both inside and outside of vehicles and while in hindsight the right thing for Matthew Topham to do would have been to find a safe place to pull over.
“He didn’t do that and he now lives with the consequences.”