HE was a loving husband who cared for his ill wife.
But John Holmes’ life ended when he was hit by a speeding driver as he walked his two rescue dogs.
Now the driver has been jailed for 21 months after knocking down and killing the pensioner.
Eleazer Lawrence hit 75-year-old Mr Holmes, of Brighouse, who was walking his two rescue dogs on a bright Sunday afternoon.
A court heard that the Huddersfield man was driving at twice the legal speed limit.
Mr Holmes, who was described as fit and healthy, was returning home with his two pets last July when he tried to cross Bradford Road, Brighouse, and was struck by Eleazer Lawrence’s car which was travelling at double the 30mph speed limit.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that Mr Holmes, who was the sole carer for his dementia-suffering wife Maureen, had almost reached a pedestrian refuge when he was hit, suffering multiple injuries.
One of Mr Holmes’ dogs was also killed in the collision.
Lawrence, who had been to a nearby fast food restaurant with his girlfriend and two children, slammed on his brakes after seeing Mr Holmes step into the road.
But the court heard that his vehicle skidded for nearly 60 metres before striking the pensioner.
Prosecutor John Bull told the court that an investigator had concluded that had Lawrence been driving at 54mph or less the collision could have been avoided.
Almost exactly a year before the fatal accident Lawrence, of Maple Close, Kirkheaton, had penalty points put on his licence for exceeding a 50mph speed limit.
Lawrence pleaded last month to a charge of causing death by careless driving – an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.
His lawyer Stephen Uttley conceded that nothing he could say on his client’s behalf would ease in any way the pain and heartache of Mr Holmes’ family.
But he said they needed to know that Lawrence was remorseful for what he had done.
“He wanted to speak to the family today,” said Mr Uttley.
“He wants them to know how very, very sorry he is.”
Mr Uttley submitted that his client could be given a suspended prison sentence for the offence, but Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said such a sentence would be a travesty.
The judge said the impact on Mr Holmes’ family had been truly disastrous.
“The harsh situation and appalling reality is that had you been going a mere six or such miles slower, 54mph or less, the collision, it is likely, would have been avoided”, the judge told Lawrence.
“Had you been doing 30mph of course Mr Holmes would be alive”.
The judge added: “Speed kills and if this case doesn’t demonstrate that then no lesson will be learned”.
Lawrence was banned from driving for two-and-a-half years.
Relatives of Mr Holmes who travelled up from London for the sentence hearing declined to make any comment.