A man who killed a Dobwalls pensioner following a row at a bus stop in 2008 was killed in a car accident shortly after his release from prison.
Alec Pearn was sentenced to six years in jail in August 2009 for the manslaughter of 66-year-old retired plumber Peter Seaman.
In September 2012, just months after he had been released, Alec, aged 24, was killed when the car his girlfriend was driving collided with a tree at 70mph.
Yesterday Exeter Crown court heard that his girlfriend, Laura Hauerslev, had lost control of the vehicle as the couple wrestled over the radio controls during a petty argument.
They had been quarrelling about the music on the car radio and with him turning it up and her turning it down. She took her eyes off the road as she did so and crashed into the tree, the court was told.
Alec grabbed the steering wheel in a final bid to keep the car on the road but it ran over a kerb, and took off as it ran up a small slope. It rolled and hit the tree roof first.
Hauerslev, aged 22, avoided a jail term when the judge was told that Mr Pearn’s family are not seeking revenge and do not want her to go to prison.
The judge praised the courage of passer-by Michael Cazaly, who risked his own life to comfort Hauerslev for two hours despite being covered in petrol and at risk of the wreckage falling onto him.
Hauerslev, of Middle Park Cottage, Broadwoodwidger, near Lifton, admitted causing death by careless driving and was ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work and receive supervision as part of a 12-month community order.
She sobbed in the dock as Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, told her: “You were going over the speed limit by your own admission and arguing with your boyfriend, which seems to have distracted you from driving.
“You admit you took your eyes off the road and lost control of the car and we know what happened thereafter. I treat this as a tragic accident caused by a momentary loss of attention.
“It led to an over-correction by you and in the circumstances I do not believe the speed had anything to do with the accident other than exaggerating the consequences.
“I have regard to the fact that the deceased was a good friend of yours and you may have been distracted by what he did.
“I am grateful to the deceased’s parents and family for indicating that they do not want you to go to prison.”
“I commend Mr Michael Cazaly and his courage in going under the car at one point and attempting to help and putting himself in very considerable risk of injury. He did very well.”
Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said the couple had been together for a few months and by the time of his death Alec was spending much of his time at her home.
On the day of the accident they returned from a weekend away in Cornwall and had been to see his parents in West Devon before heading back to her home.
Mr Coombe said Alec’s mother Mandy was aware there had been an argument between them and saw Hauerslev waiting for him in her car before they left.
Mr Coombe said Mr Cazaly saw them closing on him on the old A30 road before looking back and seeing a cloud of dust and returning to help them.
He realised Alec was dead but lied to Hauerslev to try to keep her calm as he gave her first aid and remained by her side even when the emergency services arrived.
Mr Coombe said: “The defendant was shouting for help and asking him to get her out. She told him ‘it was the most silly thing, an argument about which radio station to listen to, that was what caused the accident’.
“His actions were very selfless and brave and at one point he was soaked in petrol. He spent two hours comforting and looking after her.
“When paramedics arrived she kept saying ‘I’ve killed him, I’ve killed him, he is dead’. She was very distressed about what had happened.
“She told police in the car they argued about the radio and he kept turning it up. She asked him to stop but he didn’t and she took her eyes off the road to turn it down.
“It happened again and when she looked up she saw the car going towards the kerb and out of control. She said he grabbed the wheel but they crashed.”
Lee Bremridge, defending, said: “The events of that Sunday afternoon will live with Hauerslev for the rest of her life. She is deeply sorry and wants to apologise to Alec’s family for what happened and the loss of their son.”