The grieving family of a devoted father-of-two who died after being hit by a van today said they will never forgive the driver who caused his death.
Robert Valiant was told he now faces jail after he ran over 35-year-old Paul Brindle on a country road.
Mr Brindle was found with serious head injuries on the road in Poulton. He later died in hospital.
A jury found 30-year-old Valiant – who was driving back from a duck shoot – guilty of causing death by careless driving.
Today, Mr Brindle’s devastated sister Sarah Butters told The Gazette of the distress the trial had caused her family – and the heartache her brother’s children now face growing up without a father.
Mrs Butters, 40, said: “We’ve had 18 months of trauma and to have to go through the evidence that we’ve had to go through has been traumatic. We’ve had to see pictures we should never have had to see and hear this we should never have had to hear.
“The fact he (Valiant) killed my brother is something I’ll never forgive him for.”
Valiant was told he now faces jail after he ran over 35-year-old Paul Brindle on a country road.
Valiant, 30, had claimed he wasn’t involved in the collision, but a jury at Preston Crown Court heard that blood and fibres were found underneath his Ford Transit van following the fatality.
And yesterday Valiant, of Evesham Road, Grange Park, was remanded in custody for sentencing next month after being found unanimously guilty by a jury of causing death by careless driving.
Judge Andrew Woolman, sitting at Preston Crown Court, told Valiant’s barrister: “I cannot envisage anything other than a custodial sentence.”
Today the family of Mr Brindle – a devoted father-of-two – say they will never forgive Valiant for causing his death.
Sister Sarah Butters, 40, told The Gazette: “We feel that justice has been done, but it can never bring Paul back.
“We still live every day knowing he should be her seeing his two children grow up.
“Knowing the man who killed him has been found guilty is a relief to what is otherwise a tragedy.”
She added: “What has been so hard and added to the pain we’ve been through was that Robert Valiant did not admit to what he had done.
“We’ve had 18 months of trauma and to have to go through the evidence that we’ve had to go through has been traumatic.
“We’ve had to see pictures we should never have had to see and hear things we should never have had to hear.
“The fact he killed my brother is something I’ll never forgive him for.”
Paying tribute to the detectives who investigated the case, she added: “The police have been tireless in pushing forward that Robert Valiant was convicted of this.
“From the day after we first met with them they gave us their word they’d do everything they could and they lived up to that.”
The court heard how Valiant had been an acquaintance of Mr Brindle for around three years at the time of the incident.
The self employed builder, who had no previous convictions, was found not guilty of causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink, but unanimously found guilty of an alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.
He now faces sentencing on June 13. The jury deliberated for more than three hours before delivering their verdict before a packed courtroom.
Valiant told the court he and others had socialised following the duck shoot.
He spoke of having drunk Budweiser, cider and a couple of shots of port or gin.
He insisted he had not been drunk and believed that if breathalysed by the police on the way home, he would have passed the test. There was nothing unusual about his journey home, he claimed.
The defendant spoke of feeling “very shocked” on hearing the news next day that Mr Brindle had died.
He denied a prosecution claim that he was drunk and had driven into and over Mr Brindle, before continuing his journey home.
Paying tribute to her brother, Mrs Butters, from Wetherby, Yorkshire, said: “He was the life and soul of every party he went to.
“He was a devoted father of two children. He adored them and spent all the time he could making sure they were climbing mountains, making dens and having fun together.
“He was my dad’s best friend and his death has left such an enormous hole in our lives, not just in our family but in those of his huge number of friends too.”
Mr Brindle was born in Blackpool and grew up in Thornton and Poulton, later living at Breck Road.
A proud pupil of Rossall School, he later ran a number of mobile home parks for his father Anthony, 62.
As well as Anthony and Sarah, Mr Brindle is survived by his mother Janet, 64, his nine-year-old son Angus and daughter Grace, seven.
Mrs Butters said: “The support of Paul’s friends has been invaluable to our family.”