Family feel ‘heaviness’ lift after Thornham farmer’s conviction for causing death by dangerous driving

Henry Bett, son of Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett, pictured at Huntingdon Crown Court where he is standing trial for causing death by dangerous driving. July 6 2015.  NEWSTEAM/SWNS
Henry Bett, son of Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett, pictured at Huntingdon Crown Court where he is standing trial for causing death by dangerous driving. July 6 2015. NEWSTEAM/SWNS

The family of a woman killed in a collision with a tractor driven by a West Norfolk farmer have said the “heaviness” of waiting for justice has been lifted following his conviction for causing her death.

Henry Bett, 28, was yesterday found gulity of causing the death of Rebecca Brown by dangerous driving for a second time.

A retrial had been ordred after his initial conviction was overturned at the Court of Appeal last year.

But, after the guilty verdict was delivered at Cambridge Crown Court, Mrs Brown’s husband Steven, brother Matthew Colman and sister-in-law Jo Colman, said he should have admitted his guilt from the start.

Mrs Colman said: “He has never said ‘I am sorry’, not even when he was on the stand [giving evidence].

“He said he was heartbroken. Only if you have been through losing someone how we have lost Becky can you understand what heartbroken means.”

She added: “We were relieved when we heard the verdict. We feel we have got justice now.”

Mr Brown, who attended the trial throughout, said: “There’s been a heaviness from when we learned he was going to appeal. You cannot get on with your life. It’s just there all the time.

“Although I could sleep better since, I would wake up and it was there, the thought are you going to get out of it what you want. But I have now.

“All along he was guilty. If he had put his hand up in the first place and said I have done wrong it would have been done by now, but he didn’t.”

The family jointly described Becky as “a lovely woman, kind, caring, funny and protective and one of life’s genuinely good people.”

They added: “We are still trying to put the pieces back together but they will never fit together the same as before as there will always be a piece missing.

“No child should ever lose their mother like this. No husband should go to work in the morning and never see his wife again. No parent should ever have to bury their child.”

They said Bett had still not explained why he didn’t see the car.

They also paid tribute to Mrs Brown’s children, saying they were “a credit” to their mother.

Detective Inspector Scott Egerton, from the Essex Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit which investigated the crash, said: “This case highlights the tragic consequences of failing to act responsibly when behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“Rebecca Brown lost her life in circumstances that were wholly avoidable and Henry Bett will have to pay the price for his dangerous driving. All road users, especially those driving larger vehicles, need to consider other people; particularly those who are more vulnerable than themselves.

“Holding a driving licence brings with it a high degree of responsibility that should always be at the forefront of a driver’s mind. Not doing so, as in this case, can have devastating results for all those concerned.”

Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service’s Thames and Chiltern area, added: “This was a very sad case, the consequences of which have had a terrible impact on many lives.

“We have worked closely with Norfolk Constabulary and Essex Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

“We hope that today’s conviction, which has come after a lengthy legal process, will in some small way help Mrs Brown’s family come to terms with this tragic event. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time.”