Lewes man criticises High Court Ruling

25 May 2010, 06:35 | Updated: 25 May 2010, 06:43

An East Sussex man whose university lecturer wife was killed when a Belgian lorry driver smashed into her car described the compensation he will receive over her tragic death as ``woefully inadequate''.

Martin Spinelli, whose son Lio suffered serious injuries in the accident in 2006, said that Sasha Roberts was not only a devoted wife and mother but because of her ``tragic and avoidable'' death the ``academic world lost one of its brightest young sparks''.

He and Lio, of Lewes, attended the High Court in London when a judge gave his approval for a sum of £27,000 to be set aside for the child out of the total £625,000 compensation settlement.

Mr Justice McCombe heard that Sasha - aged 40 when she was killed in the accident on the coast-bound carriageway of the M2 between Sittingbourne and Faversham in Kent - had a ``glittering'' career ahead of her.

Following the death of Mrs Spinelli, lorry driver Yvan Lucien Vandermeulen was jailed for 30 months at Maidstone Crown Court for causing death by dangerous driving. The compensation claim was brought against the driver and three other
defendants, including his employers. Mrs Spinelli had stopped her car on the hard shoulder when the accident

After the hearing, Mr Spinelli, 42, said that at the time of her death his wife had three acclaimed scholarly books to her credit and had ``two more in the works and was writing her first popular market book about beauty''.

He and his son, now aged eight, were able to forgive the lorry driver shortly after the crash - but not what he described as ``the broken system that allows tragedies like this one to happen every year''. Dr Spinelli said that Britain's roads were ``choked with thousands of dangerous foreign trucks, far too big for our roads''.

He added that ``the way the law treats people after disasters like this one also needs serious reform''.