Lincolnshire lottery winner fights back tears as he tries to explain what caused fatal crash
A Lincolnshire lottery winner fought back tears as he remembered the details that led to a fatal crash he caused.
Matt Topham, a jackpot winner worth £ 45 million, killed 75-year-old Jane Regulator in the head-on accident on Christmas Day 2019.
The father of three admits their death was caused by careless driving, but denies that his actions were dangerous.
The 31-year-old is said to have taken his eyes off the street for “up to three seconds” when he tried to give his screaming son back a fallen teddy bear.
Topham, who wore a dark suit and white shirt in court, gave testimony from the booth for two hours today, Tuesday, March 9, Mirror Online reports.
Topham announced that he has since returned to the scene out of “respect” for an anniversary to plant flowers.
He also recreated his actions during the accident on his driveway in a stationary car.
The defendant was visibly upset and received handkerchiefs from an usher when he described why he turned to help his two-year-old son.
(Image: Daily Mirror / Andy Stenning)
Topham said, “I really think the scream made me act right away and get this teddy bear.
“It’s so hard for me because if I made a conscious decision at this point … I would hope that I would make a better decision than I did on that day.
“But his scream really made me react and my reaction was terrible.”
When asked why he didn’t pull up in his BMW X6 to get the teddy bear, Topham added, “I wish I had.”
Topham added, “I can’t explain my own actions that night because I don’t think it was right … I was wrong for turning around like that.”
Topham told the judges how he and his wife Cassey won the lottery in 2012 when he was just 23.
He said, “Winning the lottery changed your life.
“Pay off mortgages, buy cars, and help friends and family through life.
“We have a close group of friends who are friends from school.
“We all paid off their mortgages so they basically took a step in life …
“We rented a villa in Marbella and took all of our close friends to party.
“… It gave us the freedom to give people who rise in life.”
Topham, who left school at 16 to work as a painter and decorator with his father, said the couple now own a “collection of cars.”
They also paid off his father’s mortgage, helped him retire and fulfilled a “dream” for Cassey’s parents by buying Rushmoor Country Farm Park near Louth, Lincs.
This is where the Tophams stayed on December 25, 2019 before leaving after watching Strictly Come Dancing.
Topham said his sons, ages five and two, were “tired from a busy Christmas day,” and he handed his youngest child a teddy and owl blanket.
He added, “As we were driving down the street, my oldest said my youngest had dropped his teddy bear.
“He literally just started a little moaning like kids do, and then he just let out a massive scream and wouldn’t stop.”
Topham said his son’s scream sounded like a “burglar alarm in a small room” and was driving him “crazy”.
He explained, “When he was younger I had to give it to my wife and leave the room because I couldn’t handle the noise.
“It’s so high I think it rings just the right pitch for my ears.”
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Lincoln Crown Court heard Topham look up to see headlights after turning on the wrong side of the road.
The accident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. near Jane’s home in North Cockerington, Lincs.
Topham escaped the accident with only minor injuries, along with his sons and dog.
Jane died of severe chest injuries while her husband, 78-year-old driver Rodney Regulator, suffered multiple fractures.
Topham added, “I don’t remember crashing into the car. I just remember waking up with an airbag in my face and my kids screaming.”
The court had previously heard Topham tell officials he was “distracted for a second, two, three, maybe three seconds.”
Yesterday he said, “I don’t believe in my heart that I turned around for three seconds that day.
“I honestly think it was a split second that I turned around for.”
Swinderby’s Topham has admitted careless driving caused death.
He denies having caused death by dangerous driving and serious injuries by dangerous driving.
Death by dangerous driving leads to a maximum imprisonment of 14 years.
The process continues.