Lorry driver admits killing girl in M6 crash

By Court Reporter Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 08/02 09:35

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Priyanka Bhogal. (s)

A FAMILY has described how their lives have been 'shattered forever' by a crash which killed their four-year-old daughter.

Four-year-old Priyanka Bhogal, from Coventry, died in November last year after a lorry crashed into the back of her family's car on the M6 near Chelmsley Wood.

Lorry driver Robert Booth, 63, from Sunderland, had denied causing death by dangerous driving, claiming he suffered from sleep apnoea syndrome and had fallen asleep at the wheel.

But he changed his plea to guilty on the second day of his trial at Warick Crown Court.

Booth ignored warning signs and the restricted 40mph speed limit in the moments before he ploughed into the back of the family's car as it sat stationary in a queue of traffic.

In a statement Priyanka's family said: "Our lives were shattered forever when Robert Booth ran his 44 tonne lorry directly into the back of our car at a speed significantly in excess of the limit in place at the time.

"The impact was so massive it killed our beautiful four-year-old daughter, Priyanka Bhogal, as she slept peacefully in the car. The crash impact also left several other people severely injured.

"It is very difficult for us to explain how painful and how broken and empty our lives are without our loving daughter. There will never be a day when we won't remember the happiness she gave us and the tragic events of that night.

"During her short time with us she brought happiness and touched the lives of so many people. All her family and friends will miss her deeply.

"The evidence supporting the case against Booth was overwhelming. His driving was so dangerous on that night that it was a miracle that there weren't further fatalities. Despite this overwhelming evidence he continued to plead not guilty.

"To date he has shown little remorse or sincere regret. We hope that the sentencing reflects the distress and loss we feel everyday from having our angel, Priyanka, taken from us."

The family also thanked the paramedics, hospital staff and members of the public who helped following the crash.

Booth has been bailed until February 25 with Judge de Bertodano telling him he faced years in prison.

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