Two men who caused the death of a pregnant mum near Leadenham after towing an unroadworthy van for 27 miles through Lincolnshire have had their jail sentences cut by five months.
Lukasz Orywal, 32, and Andy Hurns, 28, had each been jailed for three years and nine months earlier this year after they both admitted causing the death of Aneta Zdeb, 26, by dangerous driving.
But a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court was today (Tuesday) told both men were entitled to full credit for their guilty pleas.
Judge Simon Hirst reduced his original sentence on both men to three years and four months.
The judge said: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of it both men should have the same sentence.”
The sentencing hearing in September was told Orywal had fitted a “make shift” tow bar and arranged for Hurns to travel behind him after buying the van as a “non runner” for just £300.
Eye witnesses described how the Vauxhall Movano van being controlled by Hurns could be seen swinging from side to side over the centre white line and bumping in to the back of the Chrysler Voyager being driven by Orywal.
As the two vehicles sped down a hill on the A17 at Leadenham, at 55mph the tow bar broke sending Orywal’s car spinning at 45 degrees into the opposite carriageway.
It collided with a VW Passatt car being driven by lorry driver and company director Kamil Zdeb, 27, who was taking his young family from their home in Bradford to visit friends in Spalding.
His wife, Aneta, who was 14 weeks pregnant and sat next to the couple’s three-year-old daughter in the rear of the car, suffered traumatic injuries to her liver and heart from the massive impact. She died just a few hours later after being admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Mr Zdeb was also knocked unconscious in the crash which occurred at around 8pm on August 25 last year. His daughter was protected by her child car seat and suffered scratches to her arms and legs.
In an emotional victim impact statement which was read out in court Mr Zdeb described how his three year old daughter had been left without a mother and still cried out at night.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Orywal, who worked as a groom for a professional three day eventer, had refused to pay £300 to hire a transporter for the van.
He fled the scene on foot and was only arrested the following day after making a phone call from a shop in the village of Claypole - eight miles from the crash.
Hurns, who did not have a driving licence and had been promised cash by Orywal to take control of the van, remained at the scene and tried to help move some of the debris.
Orywal, who lived in the village of Lound between Retford and Gainsborough, had arranged to pick the van up from a motor dealer 27 miles away in Boston after being told it was a “non-runner only used to be used for spares and repairs.”
Jon Fountain, prosecuting, said a “make shift rigid tow bar” made from a farm jack was attached between the two vehicles. CCTV caught the two men stopping at a petrol station shortly after leaving Boston to check the tow bar.
Mr Fountain told the court: “They must have been aware of the problems within minutes of setting off.”
Collision investigators who examined the two vehicles after the crash found the van’s brakes to be defective and concluded it should not have been towed at any speed above 15mph. The van was also at least half a ton over the safe braking limit to be towed by the Chrysler.
“When Orywal braked the momentum of the Movano van pushed it across the carriageway before slicing off the tow bar and continuing,” Mr Fountain added.
The court heard Mr Zdeb was “too distressed” to attend court to watch the sentencing but wanted his victim impact statement read out.
In the statement Mr Zdeb said: “I thought at first that I could cope by myself. Time has showed there is no such possibility.
“I don’t know what to do.
“I just can’t believe she has gone, we were young, our lives infront of us, we had so many plans.
“I have a child, three years old, who needs a mother and she hasn’t got one.
“She cries out at night for her mother.
“She was 26 years of age, she was too young to die, where is the sense.”
Hurns, from Retford, was interviewed by police and said he had expressed his concerns to Orywal after stopping before the collision.
Orywal had just one conviction for speeding.
Hurns, 28, of Edgbaston Drive, Retford, and Orywal, 32, of Town Street, Lound, near Retford, both admitted causing death by dangerous driving on August 25, 2017.