A dying father had his deathbed wish granted as the man responsible for killing his son was spared jail.
Ray Pentney, 69, passed away on Tuesday morning – just hours before a man appeared in court charged with causing the death of his son, Dale.
Anthony Smith, 48, had admitted causing death by dangerous driving after he forgot to apply the handbrake to his lorry and it rolled back, crushing roadworker Dale Pentney.
But at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court, Dale’s brother Shaun said: “My dad’s last wishes were that he didn’t want this man to go down.”
In a victim impact statement read in court, Ray said: “If what we have been told so far is the truth, we believe a jail sentence wouldn’t be appropriate.
“Our belief is this was a tragic accident.
“Why should another family be torn apart?”
“He has got to live with what he has done for the rest of his life, for what was a mistake.”
“We all make mistakes, don’t we?”
Smith, of Porth Cawl, Wales, was instead given a 12-month suspended sentence and disqualified for driving for 12 months.
Speaking after the hearing, Shaun said: “This is closure for our family. It was an accident and something any of us could have done.”
The court heard that Smith was sectioned within 24 hours following the incident and spent ten days in a psychiatric hospital.
In his statement to the court, Ray also said: “My own health has deteriorated significantly over the last 18 months.
“I am lucky enough to have my family and friends here to help me.
“Who would he have in prison?”
The accident had occurred on the A21 just before midnight on January 14, 2015, as work was being carried out to replace a barrier at the Sevenoaks Bypass.
Smith, whose own 16-year-old son was working with him and was in the lorry when it started to reverse, told police he had thought he had flicked the switch to activate the handbrake but didn’t do it thoroughly enough.
When he realised the lorry trailer was moving backwards, he was seen frantically trying to remove cables that would have stopped the system, but it was too later.
It headed towards Dale Pentney and two other colleagues, who managed to move out of the way in time, before it crushed him.
An inquest into the tragedy will now take place.