Lorry driver used phone to place bet on gambling app minutes before killing dad-of-two

A lorry driver who killed a dad-of-two when he “cannoned” into his car just minutes after placing a bet on a gambling app has been jailed.

Dean Moffat, 48, bet £20 on a greyhound race less than two minutes before ploughing into Ric Mboma, from west London, on the A34 near Winchester at 8:10pm on November 11, 2019.

Mr Mboma, 60, was with his two teenage kids at the side of a dual carriageway when the crash occurred and he was “instantly” killed.

His car had broken down and he was seeking to replace a tyre when Moffat smashed into him, causing his car to “spiral” through the air, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Army veteran Moffat, of Peterlee, County Durham, had “almost continually used his iPhone” during his long journey across the UK by as he took to Facebook 12 times, read 14 emails and five WhatsApp messages, took two calls and made another.

He also frequently used his firm’s tracking app and placed four bets amid a flurry of activity on betting apps, placing £22, £20 on greyhound races.

Dashcam footage revealed Moffat could have seen Mr Mboma’s hazard lights 36 seconds before the crash and had seven seconds of unobstructed vision before his MAN lorry smashed into the Toyota Corolla at 56mph.

Other vehicles had braked and changed lane to avoid Mr Mboma but Moffat – who was on cruise control and repeatedly veered onto the rumble strips – took no evasive action.

The HGV driver – who brazenly told police “using his phone does not distract him” – deleted betting apps Sky Bet and Bet365 14 minutes after the crash in a bid to cover up his crimes.

Moffat, who claimed to have a gambling addiction, initially told police he deleted the apps so he “didn’t see the football scores” coming through as notifications.

Mr Mboma’s children, Heaven, 15, and Witley, 19 both suffered lasting physical and mental injuries.

Judge Jane Miller QC condemned Moffat, an Royal Logistics Corps Sergeant with 22 years service, and jailed him for seven years.

He said: “This was driving that decided to ignore the rules for a prolonged time.

“There was a total disregard for the great danger that was caused to others on many occasions.

“You took no evasive action whatsoever and cannoned straight into Mr Mboma, causing his death instantly.

“You were uninjured, your phone was not seized immediately, and you knew exactly what you were doing when less than 15 minutes later you uninstalled betting apps.

“The dascham footage shows exactly what happened, if you had not been looking at your phone you would have had ample time to take evasive action.

“You were on your mobile phone for a significant amount of time on your journey that afternoon.

“I have no doubt your failure to realise your own danger constituted an extreme risk to other road users, especially as when you were driving what is essentially a lethal weapon.

“Using your phone meant you were seriously distracted. You continue to make excuses by pretending not to know if you were placing bets.

“This was a prolonged, persistent and deliberate case of bad driving, using a phone is a gross and avoidable distraction.

“Mr Mboma was unavoidably on the road and was vulnerable and so were his children.”

Mr Mboma’s daughter Witley, now 20, read out harrowing victim impact statements on behalf of her “traumatised” family.

She suffered a double break in her arm while her brother suffered a broken leg and has lasting joint pain.

Witley, who had to drop out of university due to the trauma, said: “I can’t help but blame myself for my father’s demise and suffer with survivor’s guilt.

“The worst injury is the internal pain that will never go away.

“I suffer from extreme panic attacks, I often think about taking my own life so I can see my dad again.”

Heaven suffered such devastating mental health issues he spent a week in hospital and was treated for psychosis.

He told how his dad was his “best friend”.

Mr Mboma’s wife told how their household was left depressed and how his passing has caused them financial hardship.