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Drunk, Speeding And Responsible For A Man’s Death; Driver Sentenced To 7.5 Years In Prison

Heartbroken Widow Vows To Battle On For Answers



The family of a man killed in a hit and run have vowed to battle on for justice after the drunken taxi driver responsible for his death was today sentenced to 7.5 years in prison at The Inner London Crown Court.

Paul Unthank was struck by the speeding mini cab being driven by Mr Swiatek as he worked in a cordoned off area of Upton Lane, East London in October last year. His colleagues called for an ambulance to help, but his injuries were too severe and he died at the scene.

Today his widow Nicola, 39, today said nothing would ever bring back the loving husband and father of three whose death could so easily have been avoided and voiced her determination to continue battling for justice in his name.

In a bid to better understand the circumstances surrounding the fatal incident she has called on serious injury and road collision expert Keith Barrett from law firm Irwin Mitchell to help her in her search for answers.

In the early hours of October 13 Paul, 43, a Waste Water Field Worker, had been retrieving monitoring equipment from a man hole when he suffered the devastating injuries, as Swiatek sped past in his Toyota Corolla.

The drunken taxi driver rang the police just an hour after the incident and informed them that he had found his car which had been stolen and damaged. But police didn’t believe his story and arrested him immediately.  He was found to be two and half times over the drink drive limit.

On December 16 he pleaded guilty to the offence of causing Mr Unthank’s death through careless driving.

Keith Barrett, who is also looking to ensure that Mrs Unthank and her children receive the financial security they need as they look to rebuild their lives, said the sentence reflected the seriousness of the crime.

He said: “To lose a husband, father and friend in any circumstance is upsetting but to do so in such horrific, avoidable circumstances is heartbreaking. The sentence handed down here at Court today demonstrates just how serious a crime was committed.

“Not only was Mr Swiatek found to be over the drink drive limit, but he was also speeding and didn’t stop at the scene of the incident where a man lay with fatal injuries.

“Though pleased that the criminal trial has now concluded, and relieved that the man responsible for the death of a loved one has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison the family remain determined to better understand the circumstances surrounding the collision and have instructed Irwin Mitchell to further investigate on their behalf.”

He went onto confirm that the next steps would be to pursue a claim for losses against Mr Swiatek and the insurer of the Toyota Corolla.

Paul from Ledbury, Herefordshire leaves behind his wife Nicola, as well as his daughter Alice, 9, and two sons, Freddie, 8, and Harry, 6.

Mrs Unthank said: “Paul’s death has caused unimaginable pain for my three children and me. Not only have I lost my best friend and supporter, but my children have lost a wonderful role model too.

“We’re pleased that the criminal trial has now concluded and justice done in that respect, but my family has been left struggling to come to terms with what has happened and struggling financially.”

“We are heartbroken and only hope that by speaking out other drivers will consider the wider consequences of drinking and speeding when driving, before getting behind the wheel.”

When handing down the sentence the judge said: “…Mr. Unthank was a hard working, devoted man who lived for his children. He himself was one of six children. Nothing I say, nothing the court does by way of sentence can possibly begin to reflect the heartache and sense of loss being suffered by Mr. Unthank’s widow and family.”