Antony John Williams convicted of fatal accident on Portland Beach Road

Police warned motorists to drive more carefully after a man admitted to causing a devastating crash that killed a beloved Weymouth grandfather.

The warning comes after Antony John Williams, 50, pleaded guilty yesterday in Weymouth Magistrates’ Court to causing death by reckless driving following a collision that killed Weymouth man Mervyn Thomas, 72 years old.

Williams was barred from holding a driver’s license for 12 months and received a community order requiring him to perform 150 hours of unpaid work.

Magistrates learned that at 11:25 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28 last year, Williams was driving his blue BMW on Portland Beach Road towards the island, where he was living at the time.

Lee Turner, prosecuting, said that at some point Williams lost control of his car.

The reasons for this remain unclear, although the police collision report suggested he might have drifted aside and hit the base of a bollard, sending him across the roadway and getting in the way of a gray Peugeot.

The Peugeot, driven by Mr. Russ, also contained a passenger, Mr. Thomas.

In a statement to police Mr Russ said on the day in question he picked up Mr Thomas from his home in Weymouth and drove him to a function in Portland. They had socialized and had a meal and, by the time of the collision, were driving back to Weymouth.

“I encountered headlights coming towards me,” said Mr. Russ. “I realized there was going to be a collision so I braked.”

The court heard that the next thing he knew was “total darkness” and severe chest pain. He tried to communicate with Mr. Thomas, but only encountered moans in response.

Mr. Thomas died the next day in hospital from injuries sustained in the collision.

In a statement read to the court, Mr. Thomas’ widow Linda shared her grief over losing her husband. “The definition of recklessness is when you lose your keys or forget to lock your front door,” she said.

“How can you speak of recklessness when it results in the loss of a beloved father, grandfather, husband and brother? ”

She noted that the incident compounded her loss of a son, Gareth, also in a road collision, 14 years earlier.

“The utter tragedy of the similarities between Mervyn’s death and that of our son Gareth almost 13 years ago seems particularly cruel,” Ms Thomas said in tribute to her late husband last year.

Lee Christmas, mitigating, said it was difficult to convey Williams’ remorse over the loss of Mr Thomas, and noted that his client had cooperated with police throughout and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. possible.

The magistrates, chaired by Nigel Coffey, ruled that Williams, from Hermes Place to Yeovil, was guilty of the least culpable form of reckless driving because the collision was not the result of speeding or lack of prolonged concentration.

After the case, PC Simon Fairholme of the Dorset Police Serious Collision Investigation Team said: ‘Antony Williams’ reckless driving had devastating consequences for Mervyn Thomas’ family.

“I hope this tragic case serves as a warning to all motorists that they are responsible for a potentially fatal machine every time they get behind the wheel and underlines the need to drive safely and carefully at all times.”


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Sandy A. Greer

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