Dashcam footage shows Romanian lorry driver watching TV show on his phone just moments before he killed student, 21, by smashing into her car as he is found guilty of death by dangerous driving
- Viorel Sandulache was watching TV when he ploughed into Abigail Harvey, 21
- Was watching it for six minutes and accelerating before hitting her Audi on M25
- Sandulache had a ‘cavalier attitude to road safety’ and lied about using phone
A lorry driver who was watching TV on his mobile when he accelerated and ploughed into a 21-year-old student, has been found guilty of killing her.
Viorel Sandulache had been watching a comedy show on his phone for six minutes when he smashed into the back of an Audi being driven by Abigail Harvey.
The 26-year-old lorry driver phoned family members, made two Google searches for the show and downloaded it onto his phone before watching it while driving along the QEII bridge in the early hours of November 3, 2017.
Sandulache lied at his trial, telling Maidstone Crown Court he was only listening to the programme – but dashcam footage captured him watching TV and he was today found guilty by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving.
Viorel Sandulache outside Maidstone Crown Court last week, where he was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving
Viorel Sandulache had been watching TV on his phone when he smashed into the back of an Audi being driven by Abigail Harvey (pictured) Abigail was airlifted to hospital but died three days later.
Abigail was airlifted to hospital but died three days later.
Sandulache claimed he had looked at the speed dials just before the crash but dashcam footage from inside his cab shows him looking at his phone.
The married 26-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving but denied death by dangerous driving.
The trial heard he had previous convictions for speeding and driving while using his mobile phone.
He made two Google searches of a first and second series of the TV show and downloaded them.
He could also be heard laughing along to the show in his cab, the court heard.
In her closing speech prosecutor Nina Ellin, said: ‘The driving that led up to the collision was dangerous.
‘You should know there’s a small car in front of you. So when he says it came out of nowhere you know it was wrong.
‘That programme was being played for six minutes before impact. It was a distraction throughout.’
The 26-year-old lorry driver phoned family members, made two Google searches for the show and downloaded it onto his phone before watching it while driving along the QEII bridge in the early hours of November 3, 2017
Miss Ellin said Google searches for the programme would have taken place when he had the phone in his hand while driving.
She added: ‘He had not even been doing the basics of safe driving before the collision occurred.’
Miss Ellin said there was an opportunity to move into other lanes as the Audi started to slow down but the defendant did not leave the inside lane.
She added: ‘Three seconds before the collision (he was) picking up speed. He did not start emergency breaking until he was on top of Miss Harvey’s car.
‘He was actually using his phone throughout that shift and was aiding it to play the television programme at the time of the collision.’
She said at other points he had been seen holding it in his hand while speaking and had made calls to speak to members of his family.
Sandulache, who is originally from Romania but now lives in Grays, Essex, will be sentenced this afternoon.