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Emile Heskey


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A top young golfer was jailed today for killing a retired university lecturer after hitting his camper van at 90mph in his BMW.


Richard Bentham, 22, was ‘showing off’ in his high-powered BMW 320 coupe when he ploughed into the van and killed Dr Graham Howells, 67, in October 2011 on the A449 near Usk, south-east Wales.


Dr Howells was on the way back from his twin children’s birthday when the car smashed into his van - and his heartbroken son and daughter had to cut their celebrations short to identify his body.


The grandfather of four, who lectured in Cardiff and Swansea, had spent the last 16 years of his life in South America and recently retired from his job an English professor at the University of Brasilia.


Bentham was not paying proper attention to the road - and during police interviews admitted to ‘showing off’ in his convertible BMW minutes before the collision, prosecutor Christopher Rees said.


‘He told police he had just floored it down the dip in the road and peaked at 128mph before putting cruise control on. He said: “I felt completely safe because I know the road so well”.’


Bentham said he could have ‘driven along the road blindfolded and had never before tested the high speed of the car’ - and was driving at 90mph at the time of the collision, Cardiff Crown Court heard.


Bentham was a product of the Newport Celtic Manor golf academy - where the 2010 Ryder Cup was staged – and he was granted special bail conditions so he could carry on competing in tournaments.


Bentham, of Monmouth, South Wales, pleaded guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving, following a collision on the A449 near Usk.


‘My client has shown outstanding sporting promise from the age of 12 and was likely to lose good years from any jail term imposed,' said Patrick Harrington QC, defending.


Bentham was jailed for two years and banned from driving for four years.


'A two year sentence is too lenient. There has been no remorse shown as far as we are concerned.

He was away playing in golf tournaments while we were coming to terms with the death of our dad'

Dr Graham Howells's son, Graham


Golfer, 22, jailed for causing death by dangerous driving at 90mph was “showing off” in his BMW

14 November 2012