Grieving dad was on way to tell family of son’s death when he crashed ex-partner’s car on A690

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A GRIEVING father caused £3,000 damage when he crashed on the A690 as he embarked on a grim journey to inform family members of the death of his son.

Henry Wallace, 48, took his ex-partner’s car on January 18, without her knowledge, in a bid to quell rumours about his son’s death two days earlier, Sunderland magistrates heard.

He went to see relatives to inform them, unfortunately, of the death of his son. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a driver’s licence or insurance.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett

But the heartbroken dad lost control of the 06-Reg Renault Clio, sending it smashing into the central reservation of the A690 at Houghton.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said Wallace was at his ex-partner’s home in Sunderland when he took her car while she was asleep.

“He went to see relations to inform them, unfortunately, of the death of his son,” Mr Poppett said. “Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a driver’s licence or insurance.

“He lost control of the vehicle and crashed, causing substantial damage, not only to the vehicle, but also to the road furniture.”

Wallace was arrested and interviewed by police.

“He described how he had lost his son very, very recently and the reason he did it was to make relations aware of the loss of his son, Mr Poppett added.

“Unfortunately, damage was caused to the vehicle, and the damage to the junction is in the region of £3,000.”

Wallace, of Rosedale Street, Millfield, admitted aggravated vehicle taking. He is out on licence after serving a portion of a prison sentence for another matter, the court was told

Tony Southwick, defending, said: “It is a rather sad situation. Mr Wallace has long-standing mental health problems and has had periods where he has been an inpatient at Ryhope Hospital. He attends court today with his carer.

“He had gone to his ex-partner’s because of the unexpected death of their son. As happens with these things, the jungle drums were already beating.

“When Mr Wallace got up that morning, his ex-partner was asleep.

“He wanted to contact family members, rather than hearing it through a third party sources and Chinese whispers, because the cause was not officially known.”

Mr Southwick added that his client had skidded on some slush and lost control of the car.

“There is no suggestion that the accident was caused by him speeding or by some reckless actions,” he said.

Wallace was banned from driving for 12 months and was fined £180 with £85 costs and £20 surcharge.