A CANCER patient’s last months were devastated by a tired driver who killed his wife and full-time carer, York Crown Court heard.

David James Broughton, 65, was driving home after an all-night sailing race when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a car driven by Sue Meakin, 63, of Flixton, near Scarborough, said Michael Smith, prosecuting.

Mrs Meakin’s sister Janice told York Crown Court her terminally-ill brother-in-law John had only been able to come home from hospital, as he wanted to, because of Sue Meakin’s assistance and determination.

“Two weeks after he returned home, she popped out to go shopping in the next village and never returned,” said the sister.

“It would be hard to overstate the terror and trauma John must have gone through that afternoon.”

The effect of Mrs Meakin’s death was that her husband had an “extraordinarily distressing” last months and a “miserable end of his life”, because he was deprived of her love and 24-hour seven-day a week care, despite the efforts of friends and family, the court heard.

Mr Meakin, who could not eat properly and was disabled by his cancer, died four months after his wife.

Broughton, of Grovehill Road, Beverley, pleaded guilty to causing Mrs Meakin’s death by careless driving on the B1261 in Seamer on June 24, 2017.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told him his decision to drive that day had had a “devastating impact” and that no sentence would be adequate for those bereaved by Mrs Meakin’s death.

Broughton had been “nodding off” as he watched a rugby match in the morning between the race and the mid-afternoon crash.

But there were exceptional circumstances that enabled him to suspend the 12-month prison sentence for two years.

Broughton was ordered to do 240 hours’ unpaid work, was disqualified for two years and ordered to take an extended driving test before driving alone again.

Handing in a sheaf of references, Richard Thompson, for Broughton, said he had believed he was in a safe condition to drive.

Before he retired, he was used in his working life to driving after little sleep when doing double shifts, but had not taken into account the effect of his advancing years on his recuperative abilities, the court was told.

He had no previous convictions and had been remorseful for his actions at the scene of the crash.