March 27, 2023 2.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

Dad spared jail over tragic crash which killed his son, 12

Ted died after the crash in January last year

A dad who caused the death of his 12-year-old son in a horror crash on an “uneven” road was spared jail after an emotional plea from the boy’s mother and another crash victim.

Paul Vines was driving son Ted in Bardney, Lincolnshire, when the tragedy unfolded on the B1190, known locally as Bardney causeway.

The dad’s Ford Galaxy was involved in a collision with a Mercedes-Benz A220 after he failed to observe signs which warned of the roads uneven surface.

Tragically Ted could not be saved and died from a head injury after the Galaxy left the road into a ditch.

Vines, 47, of Hamilton Road, Alford, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to causing his son’s death by dangerous driving on Sunday, January 16 last year.

He also admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving to Victoria Frost, who was a passenger in the Mercedes, after she suffered life changing injuries to her spine and ankle.

Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said Mr Vines was driving his son westbound to a football match in the nearby village of Nocton when the collision occured just before 10am.

Mr Lody said their journey had been held up after Mr Vines, a lorry driver, stopped to make a running repair to his car and to get a drink for Ted.

The court heard other motorists described Mr Vines speeding at between 70-80mph on the 60mph road shortly before the collision, but his speed could not be calculated.

Mr Lody said warning signs indicated the road surface was uneven and warned motorists to slow down.

“The signs were in good repair and clearly visible,” Mr Lody added.

William Frost, who was driving his wife, Victoria, and their daughter, aged four, home from a swimming trip in the opposite direction, described seeing all four wheels of the Galaxy leaving the road before striking his Mercedes.

At the scene Mr Vines said: “I lost control on the bumps. I came over the hill and lost control. I don’t think I was driving too fast.”

Mr Frost and his daughter escaped without serious injuries, but Mrs Frost was taken to hospital in Nottingham and required four operations for serious injuries to her spine and ankle.

During his police interview Mr Vines said he was travelling at 50mph and lost control after hitting three continuous bumps.

Following the collision Lincolnshire County Council reduced the speed limit for the road by 20mph, the court heard.

Mr Lody added: “As an aside one wonders why it was ever 60mph.”

Ted’s mother, Sarah Vines, fought back tears as she read out her own victim impact statement in court room number one at Lincoln Crown Court.

Mrs Vines urged the sentencing judge not to jail her husband because of the emotional and physical support he provided to her and their three surviving children.

“Nobody and no one will ever be able to hurt me more than the death of my darling Teddy other than to watch what my beautiful three children are going through,” Mrs Vines told the court.

Mrs Vines said she had spent 25 years building their family with her husband and added: “Paul is a very hands on dad who has never been away from his children for more than one night.”

“I know he is truly sorry for what happened,” Mrs Vines added. “I know he will never be able to forgive himself.”

Mrs Vines also read out a moving tribute to her son.

“Ted was truly remarkable,”Mrs Vines said. “It is difficult to put into words how much brilliance shone from one small child.”

Mrs Vines plea was also supported by the headteachers of the two schools attended by the family’s other children, and Mrs Frost.

Mr Lody told the court: “She (Mrs Frost) does not want Mr Vines to go to prison.”

A victim impact statement from Mrs Frost was also read out in court in which she added: “I want Mr Vines to know everyone makes mistakes in life, and there is no hate to him, and my thoughts have been with his family through all of this.”

Andrew Nuttall, mitigating, told the court Mr Vines took full responsibility for his actions.

Mr Nuttall said: “It was indicated at magistrates court that there would be no trial.

“He accepts totally the evidence. In his head he just can’t accept how he behaved in the way he did.”

Mr Nuttall also highlighted the uneven nature of the road.

“Although it had a speed limit of 60mph, it is noteworthy the authorities reduced it straight away (following the collision) to 40mph, not 50mph.”

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told Mr Vines he had to consider the aggravating features of his driving and the life changing injuries to Mrs Frost.

“It appears you were driving in excess of the speed limit. Whether that is right or not, what is right is that you were driving far too fast for that road in the circumstances,” Judge Hirst said.

“Your car ended up in the ditch that ran alongside the causeway. Tragically Teddy or Ted died as a result of a head injury.”

However Judge Hirst said he had to balance those factors against Mr Vines positive driving record, his family circumstances including the impact on his wife and children if he was jailed, including the possible loss of their family home, and the gracious position taken by Mrs Frost.

“I must bare in mind Teddy was your son and you will have to live with that every day when you see your wife and children,” Judge Hirst told Mr Vines.

“On balance I am just persuaded to suspend the sentences of imprisonment.”

Vines was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years for causing the death of his son, and a suspended sentence of 18 months imprisonment to run concurrently for causing serious injury to Mrs Frost.

He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community, 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days and banned from driving for two years with an automatic retest.

The Judge concluded the hearing by telling Mr Vines: “Had it not been for the fact that Ted was your child and the gracious position taken by Mrs Frost then it would be inevitable that you would not have been walking out of the building.”

Tributes flooded in for Ted following his death on January 16 last year.

His heartbroken family said: “Ted was loved by everyone – he was happy, fun and brilliant and had so many people who loved him.

“On Sunday [January 16, 2022], he was on his way to play football for Alford Under-12s at Branston, as he was a part of that team.

“Everywhere he went, Ted made friends. He was a special part of the community for everyone.”

While Lincolnshire Football Association said: “Our thoughts at this devastating and heartbreaking time are with the family, friends, team-mates and coaches of Ted Vines.

“Ted was a player for Alford Town U12s, who died as a result of a road traffic accident whilst on the way to play the game he loved, something thousands do every weekend across Lincolnshire.

“On behalf of the football family of Lincolnshire, our condolences go out to his family and friends and all at Alford Town Football Club.”

MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of The Lincolnite. Download the app now