A LORRY driver has been jailed for causing the death of a “one in a billion” Huddersfield police officer.
Andrew Abernethy’s truck strayed on to the hard shoulder of the M1 near Wakefield, trapping Pc Mark Goodlad between his police car and another vehicle, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Pc Goodlad, a former road traffic police officer who had worked in Huddersfield, was helping a stranded motorist with a flat tyre at the time.
Abernethy admitted dangerous driving and was jailed for two years and nine months – he was told he would serve half the sentence.
Pc Goodlad, 41, leaves wife Helen and son Ben, a pupil at Castle Hall School in Mirfield.
A judge heard that Abernethy, 45, of Rembrandt Walk, Oldham, was driving an orange Scania articulated lorry which hit Pc Goodlad’s marked BMW X5 police car and a grey Suzuki Swift on the southbound carriageway of the M1, near the village of Crigglestone, in October last year.
The police car and the Suzuki were both stationary on the hard shoulder and officers said Pc Goodlad was between the two vehicles, helping the 51-year-old woman, Sharon Burgess.
Mark’s widow Helen Goodlad, said: “The past 13 months have been agonising and today is no different, though it does at least bring some degree of closure for myself, my family and Mark’s family.
“We all know that Mr Abernethy did not set out that day with the intention of taking a life, but it is without doubt that he is solely responsible for the death of my husband Mark.
“Mark wasn’t just a part of my life – he was my life.
“There are no words to describe how much I love and miss him. He was the most incredible, honourable and inspirational person that one could hope to meet.
“Mark loved his job and took great pride in his duties; he never overlooked any opportunity to help people because that’s why he joined the force, and that’s where he found himself that day – at the side of a lady needing help.
“Mark died doing what he did best. He was a hero at work and a hero at home to his family.
“It is no exaggeration to say he was one in a billion.
“No matter what the outcome the fact remains that Mark is gone. I have been robbed of the life I had dreamed of with the person I loved more than anything in the world and Mark’s son has been left without his amazing father.
“I hope Mr Abernethy realises the devastation he has caused and that he feels genuine remorse for his actions.”
The newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “Today’s news is another reminder to us all that the men and women who serve in the police often put themselves in very dangerous situations in order to help and protect others.
“Thankfully tragedies are rare and I offer my tribute to the dedication of all police officers and police staff – and their families – as they go about their duties.”