A lorry driver who used his mobile phone to place bets moments before ploughing into a beloved dad-of-four has been jailed.
Dean Moffat placed £20 on a greyhound race less than two minutes before hitting Ric Mboma on the A34, near Winchester, Hampshire — killing him instantly.
The 48-year-old Army veteran had ‘almost continually used his iPhone’ during his long journeys across the UK, placing bets, reading emails, browsing Facebook and taking calls behind the wheel.
He brazenly told police ‘using his phone does not distract him’ and even deleted betting apps Sky Bet and Bet365 14 minutes after the crash in a bid to cover up his crimes.
Mr Mboma was ‘unavoidably’ at the side of a dual-carriageway, where there was no hard shoulder, after breaking down.
He was fetching a spare tyre out of the boot when Moffat smashed into him and his two teenage children at 8.10pm, November 11, 2019.
Dashcam footage revealed the HGV driver could have seen Mr Mboma’s hazard lights 36 seconds before the crash and had seven seconds of unobstructed vision before his lorry hit the Toyota Corolla at 56mph.
Other vehicles had braked and changed lane to avoid the stationary car, but Moffat — who was on cruise control and repeatedly veered onto the rumble strips — took no evasive action.
Winchester Crown Court heard how at the time of the crash, Mr Mboma’s was driving his 19-year-old daughter Witley back to Winchester University, joined by his 15-year-old son, Heaven.
After setting off from Middlesborough at 2pm, Moffat used Facebook 12 times, read 14 emails and five WhatsApp messages, took two calls and made another, and frequently used his firm’s tracker app, records show.
He also placed four bets amid a flurry of activity on betting apps, placing £22, £20 on greyhound races.
His final bet, £20 on a dog called Ballymore at a race in Nottingham, was placed less than two minutes before the crash and followed a message from a friend, tipping the bet.
Moffat was banned from Bet365 but still managed to use the app, and even used Sky Bet to listen to greyhound commentary.
The court heard how the Royal Logistics Corps Sergeant with 22 years service told police he wasn’t sure when he last looked at his phone.
He claimed his device does not distract him but that he would look at it if he got a message to see if it was important.
Jailing him for seven years, Judge Jane Miller QC said: ‘There was a total disregard for the great danger that was caused to others on many occasions.
‘You took no evasive action whatsoever and cannoned straight into Mr Mboma, causing his death instantly.
‘You were uninjured, your phone was not seized immediately, and you knew exactly what you were doing when less than 15 minutes later you uninstalled betting apps.
‘The dascham footage shows exactly what happened, if you had not been looking at your phone you would have had ample time to take evasive action.
‘I have no doubt your failure to realise your own danger constituted an extreme risk to other road users, especially as when you were driving what is essentially a lethal weapon.
‘Using your phone meant you were seriously distracted. You continue to make excuses by pretending not to know if you were placing bets.
‘This was a prolonged, persistent and deliberate case of bad driving, using a phone is a gross and avoidable distraction.’
Witley, now 20, suffered a double break in her arm and had to drop out of university due to her trauma.
Reading harrowing victim impact statements on behalf of the family, she said: ‘I can’t help but blame myself for my father’s demise and suffer with survivor’s guilt. The worst injury is the internal pain that will never go away.
‘I suffer from extreme panic attacks, I often think about taking my own life so I can see my dad again.
‘I don’t wish bad on the lorry driver, I just wish he is remorseful and understands how his negligence has caused so much pain and suffering.’
Heaven suffered a broken leg and long lasting joint pain. The mental impact of losing his dad and ‘best friend’ was so devastating he spent a week in hospital being treated for psychosis.
Mr Mboma’s wife said the family from Feltham, west London has been left depressed and how his passing has caused them financial hardship.
In a letter to the Mboma family, Moffat said: ‘I have not forgiven myself for the accident and would not expect forgiveness from you.’
Judge Miller criticised Moffat for failing to take ‘culpability’ over his phone use in the letter.
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