Jackpot winner spared jail after killing woman in car crash

Lottery winner Matt Topham spared jail after fatal crash which killed woman [photo courtesy]

A Euromillions jackpot winner who killed a pensioner in a head-on crash has been spared jail.

Matt Topham said he took his eyes off the road for a “split second” to pick up a teddy dropped by his two-year-old son whe he ploughed into Jane Reglar, 75.

The 31-year-old, who won a £45m (Sh 6.8 billion) jackpot in 2012, admitted causing death by careless driving, but was cleared by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving.

He was on Thursday given a 16 weeks suspended sentence and a one year driving ban.

Topham, who won a £45million jackpot with wife Cassey in 2012, said in a statement after the hearing: “I cannot begin to express the remorse I feel.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and the devastating impact that they have had on the Regler family, and I will carry that guilt with me forever.”

He will have to wear an electronic tag and obey a 7pm to 7am curfew for the next three months.

Judge Sjolin Knight praised the victim's husband Rodney Regler, 78, for being “extremely dignified” in the victim impact statement he gave to the court.

He said: “No matter what happens nothing can bring my wife back to me and I go through each day knowing this.

“It has ruined my life and I’m sure it has ruined the other driver’s too but I will not let this dictate my life.

“I bear the driver no malice but I will never forgive him for what he has done to me and my family.”

The tragedy happened in North Cockerington, Lincs, on Christmas Day 2019, when the victim and husband Rodney Regler, 78, were returning from a Christmas lunch.

Rodney, who was driving the vehicle Topham ploughed into, was injured in the head-on collision.

Jane Regler, 75, died in the head-on crash [photo courtesy/ twitter]

Dad-of-three Topham, of Swinderby, Lincs, said he was "distracted" by the screaming and crying of his two-year-old in the moments before the collision.

He told police how he turned around for 'up to three seconds' while trying to locate the teddy in a rear footwell.

Prosecutors argued Topham’s driving was “dangerous” because he had taken his eyes off the road for up to three seconds.

But jurors disagreed after hearing the multi-millionaire’s evidence that he was only distracted for a “split second”.

Lincoln crown court heard his two-year-old son’s scream was so piercing that it made him “go crazy”.

Detective Inspector Joanna Reeves, Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “We send our condolences to Mr Regler and his family and our thoughts are very much with them today.

“The circumstances of the crash bring home just how very important it is for drivers to keep full attention on the road ahead.

"There are distractions both inside and outside of vehicles and while in hindsight the right thing for Matthew Topham to do would have been to find a safe place to pull over. He didn’t do that and he now lives with the consequences."

The court heard that Topham then looked up in "horror" to see his BMW X6 had strayed into the the path of a Ford Fiesta.

Topham had just left Rushmoor Country Park, where he had been visiting his in-laws with his wife, who had set off earlier in another vehicle, and two children.

The court heard that following the crash Topham went to Rodney’s door and asked him if everything was okay.

He then dialled 999 and listened to Jane's "faint breathing” on the instructions of the call handler.

Share this story
Bank boards still not sufficiently tech savvy: Study
The findings come as banks around the world continue to spend vast portions of budgets on technology
When Njonjo almost resigned over coffee smugglers
Known as the era of black gold, it began in 1976 when Ugandan farmers decided to sell their coffee in the private market.