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Coach driver jailed over crash which killed Somerset lorry driver
A COACH driver who admitted causing the death of a lorry driver from Somerset has been jailed for six years.
William Mapstone, 65, from Panborough near Wedmore, died along with coach passenger Liaquat Ali, 35, in the Midlands crash on March 24 last year.
Jasminder Singh Dhesi, 50, of Great Barr, near Birmingham, last month pleaded guilty to causing the deaths by dangerous driving in the incident on the M5.
Dhesi was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday (12) and was also disqualified from driving for four years, to take effect from his release from prison.
The court heard Dhesi had been drinking high-strength lager before his un-roadworthy coach broke down three times on the motorway in the fog.
The coach, which was carrying 34 passengers, was eventually hit by a heavy good vehicle driven by Mr Mapstone.
Following the hearing, Mr Mapstone’s son-in-law, Kai Markall, read a statement on behalf of the family.
He said: “The family would like to express their thanks to all of the emergency services and those that were involved on the day of this tragedy, who all worked tirelessly to minimise everyone’s loss.
“Special thanks go to the family liaison officers who have helped provide the answers to all the painful questions we all wish to know when going through this unimaginable pain.
“William, Dad, Grandad, Bill Mapstone, leaves behind a loving wife, four beautiful children who in turn provided him with 14 heartbroken grandchildren.
“The loss of life and pain felt by the Mapstone family can never be measured in the sentence passed today.
“The family can only hope that from this tragedy others will learn that your actions and choices in life can seriously affect others.
“If in trouble, call for help. Better to be late than to never arrive.
“Hopefully today is closure for the family but please feel our pain. Please share our loss. Drive safely, arrive late."
At his funeral in Bridgwater, Mr Mapstone’s family transformed his coffin into the shape of a white cab with his nickname, ‘Glastonbury Flyer’, written on it.