BREAKING NEWS: Norfolk police chief’s son jailed over Castle Acre death crash
The son of Norfolk police and crime commissioner, Stephen Bett, has this afternoon been jailed for three and a half years for killing a woman with his speeding tractor.
Henry Bett, 26, was driving the big agricultural vehicle along a country lane when he smashed into an oncoming Fiat people carrier.
Driver Rebecca Brown, 43, died despite the efforts of her teenage son Thomas, 17, who tried to save her with CPR.
Bett survived the collision near his home in Castle Acre in December 2013 with minor injuries.
A court heard he had taken cocaine between eight and 20 hours before the crash which may have dulled his concentration and reactions.
Bett denied causing death by dangerous driving but was unanimously convicted by a jury at Huntingdon Crown Court last month.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years yesterday and banned from driving for five years as his father looked on at the same court. Bett sobbed as Judge Peter Murphy told him: “There are no winners in this.
“I’ve read an extraordinary quantity of references all of whom concur you are a responsible and hard working sensitive young man.
“You were in a position where you recognised the conditions of the so-called come down effect of cocaine and should have made a greater allowance for that.”
He added: “I am led to question the remorse you feel.
“I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt as it appears you have an enormous amount of remorse.
“It is in your favour that you tried to provide Mrs Brown with assistance.”
Bett already had three speeding endorsements and is also being investigated for alleged speeding and careless driving in a Land Rover in June this year.
Mrs Brown, of Castle Acre, Norfolk, was returning from a hospital appointment with her son when Bett’s green Fendt tractor ploughed into them.
He had been working at one farm and was on his way back to his own farm in Thornham, Norfolk, at the time.
The trial heard evidence he was speeding and failed to see Mrs. Brown, despite visibility of 100 metres and was in the middle of the road when he hit her.
Her car ended up on the verge with a back end in a hedge and the front of the vehicle crushed. The front right wheel of the tractor was ripped off.
Bett’s father Stephen is the former Tory chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, who now serves as the independent PCC for the county. After the case Mrs Brown’s family said: “All of us have lost someone very dear and no words can describe how we feel.
“Her death was avoidable and cut short by the actions of an irresponsible driver but fortunately the justice system has seen fit to prevail.
“Although a custodial sentence has been passed it will never compensate for our loss.
“Becky, who had a cheerful attitude to life, was a loving mother, wife, daughter and sister who was much loved by all.
“She was very popular in her community and she loved working at the local school where the children will miss her.
“Becky tragically leaves behind her four children who she adored and always put first, they will miss her love for cooking.
“Recognition should be given to Thomas, Becky’s son who has shown great courage and maturity when witnessing his mother’s death but also giving evidence at the trial.
“His brother and sisters have made us proud in the way they have coped with the death of their mother.”
Earlier, in a statement read to the court Mrs Brown’s husband, Stephen, said he felt “hurt” that Bett tried to blame his wife for the accident.
He said: “I feel guilty as it was not me who died.
“Originally I did not want anyone to go to jail and now I feel angry towards Henry Bett and feel he should answer for his actions.
“I feel hurt that Henry Bett does did not show any remorse and tried to blame Becky. It has turned me from a passive man to an angry man.”
In another read statement, Mrs Brown’s father said: “Our world has fallen apart since the day of the crash.
“She was always there and something to do with Rebecca always has happy memories.”
But defence barrister Lawrence Bruce said of his client: “His remorse is very genuine and evident not merely from references. Mr Bett is a decent and hard working young man and glowing testament to his glowing character.
“It should be acknowledge the publicity of this case because of the identity of his father.
“So the degree of notoriety and shame and embarrassment has been magnified to a degree above any other case of this kind.”
SIO Dave Jones, of Essex Police, said outside court: “The most important thing is that it’s not Rebecca’s fault but Henry Bett’s and it serves as a warning that two or three seconds of no attention can have consequences.
“His driving was not to the standard you’d expect driving a vehicle of that size.”