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Ex-Championship player jailed for killing couple in motorway crash

An ex-Championship player had been jailed for a killing couple in a motorway crash as they returned from their holiday in Wales.

Steven Bennett, a former Barnsley player, and brother to former Lincoln player Lee Bennett, was driving a HGV on the M56 when he crashed into the back of the car containing Angela and Richard Wong on Thursday the 19th of September 2019.

Angela, 56, sadly died at the scene after the grey Toyota Aventis she was behind the wheel of, was hit, while her husband Richard, 62, died three days later on Sunday the 22nd of September at the Walton Centre in Liverpool.

Richard and Angela Wong were killed following a horror crash on the M56 on Thursday, September 19
(Image: Cheshire Police)

The pair had been heading home to Northenden in Greater Manchester from a caravan holiday in Wales when they ended up in the incident.

Bennett, 29, of Manor Crescent, Grimethorpe, Barnsley, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Thursday where he was sentenced to a total of five years in prison.

The ex-footballer had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of death by dangerous driving.

He was also banned from driving for four years and ordered to undertake an extended retest.

In 2013, Bennett was also jailed for three years for robbery and affray. Following his release from prison, Bennett started working in telecoms.

Warrington Guardian:
Credit: Warrington Guardian

On the day of the crash, Richard and Angela had been coming back from their caravan in Wales which they had only just purchased.

They bought the caravan to use in their retirement that had just begun.

As they approached junction 9 of the M56 eastbound at around 5:15pm, they joined the rear of a queue of stationary traffic in lane one just prior to the exit for the M6.

As the couple waited patiently, their car was then smashed from behind by a 10 tonne yellow DAF engineering truck, driven by Bennett, which was travelling at approximately 50 miles per hour.

The impact caused a seven-vehicle pile-up and in addition to Angela and Richard, four other people were also injured.

Witness statements and dashcam collected by Cheshire Police showed a devastating collision with huge kinetic force.

Downloads from Bennett’s phone also showed that he was using his phone on a regular basis while he drove from the Liverpool area to the collision scene.

At the point where the collision occurred there was obvious interaction by Bennett with his mobile phone.

Pictured: Steven Bennett, who admitted two counts of causing death by careless driving
Credit: Daily Mail / EMPICS SPORT

He made his debut for the Tykes in December 2010, where his side went on to lose 2-1 to Burnley. Following his departure from Barnsley, Bennett played for non league sides Ossett Town and Athersley Recreation. Bennett later played for local sides with his friends due to falling out of love with football.

Following the sentencing Police Sergeant Andrew Dennison, of Cheshire Police’s Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit said: “Richard and Angela were a devoted couple who had been married for over 37 years.

“They were loving parents and grandparents, and their deaths sent shockwaves throughout their local community. My thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time.

“While no sentence will ever bring Richard and Angela back, I hope that the conclusion of this case will provide them with some closure.

“I also hope that this case will act as a warning to others. Driving is a complex task, drivers should always give full attention to what they are doing as situations can change rapidly.

“This collision could have been easily been avoided, Bennett had a clear view of the traffic ahead of him at least 20 seconds before he hit the stationary traffic. But sadly he was grossly inattentive on the approach to this clear hazard.

“Once he took his eyes off the road his vehicle became a lethal weapon, and by the time he realised what was happening it was too late. This need to use his phone whilst driving has cost Steven Bennett his liberty and Anglela and Richard their life.”

Twitter users reacted with the ex-Championship player jailed for killing a couple in the motorway crash…

@MurphS000456789: What would someone have to do to get the maximum sentence of 14 years, which is never given

@EoinGriffin18: 5 years seems lenient

@OfficialScottyT: 5 years is a joke.

@SweetpeaPaula: 5 years for killing 2 people? What sort of sentence is that? End up doing 21/2 probably. Our justice system is a complete joke.

@ForeverAYellow: Good that he’s been sent to do time, but I have to admit, I had to double take when I saw how long his term is. What on earth is that all about?! He killed two people and that’s all he gets?! Sickening

@ChrisChezzy57: 5years!! It’s a joke

@bucc_na39: It’s time that sentences such as these are made to match the consequences of the bad driving. 5 years for killing a husband and wife (parents?) is ludicrous imo

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