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Texting football agent in fatal motorway crash has sentence increased

Court of Appeal judges ruled the original seven years’ jail for Peter Morrison was unduly lenient.

A football agent jailed for seven years after he killed a Highways officer and left another paralysed in a motorway crash has had his sentence increased.

Judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Thursday added two years to the term originally imposed in January in the case of Peter Morrison, 37, who had been speeding and texting before the collision.

The court agreed with submissions made on behalf of Solicitor General Robert Buckland that seven years was “unduly lenient”.

Father-of-one Morrison, of Worsley, Salford, had been sending phone messages and driving at excessive speeds in rain and wind before the crash on the M6 near Tebay, Cumbria, in February 2016.

He lost control of his Mercedes and struck Highways England workers Adam Gibb, 51, who was killed almost instantly, and Paul Holroyd, now 53, who has been left paralysed from the chest down.

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Highways officer Paul Holroyd was left paralysed (PA)

Morrison had sent a text message 96 seconds before the collision. The last message he received was 45 seconds before it.

The agent for a number of professional footballers admitted causing death by careless driving, but denied his driving was dangerous.

He was convicted in November by a jury at Carlisle Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was later sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.

A letter written by Morrison was read to the court in which he said: “Not a moment within the days passes when I do not feel the guilt of taking a boy’s father away from him and seriously injuring Mr Holroyd.”

Raising the sentence to nine years, Lord Justice Treacy said the court’s view was that the mitigation in the case was “substantially outweighed by the aggravating features”.

The devastating consequences for two families were “immense”.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Mr Buckland said: “Morrison’s deliberate decision to be distracted and drive at excessive speeds in extremely hazardous weather conditions had devastating consequences for two families.

“I am pleased that the Court of Appeal has agreed with me and increased the sentence today.”

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