A British man has been jailed for 28 months over his failure to keep his horses secure, resulting in a fatal road crash.
Stacy Humphrys, 27, from West Meadows, Ipswich, appeared in Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance.
He was charged after his horses wandered on to a dual carriageway and into the path of vehicles, causing the death of 23-year-old Thomas Allen, who died in hospital on Christmas Day 2012.
Police were called to the scene of the collision on the A14 at Sproughton at about 10.20pm on Christmas Eve after reports that four vehicles had collided with three horses.
Two people in two vehicles were hurt, including Allen, who was taken to Ipswich Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Allen, from Red House Gardens, Soham, remained in hospital overnight, but died of his injuries on Christmas Day.
His family issued a statement after the sentencing, saying: “There is no relief or happiness here today. Our loss is just as strong as it was on Christmas Day 2012.
“Nothing can take away the total devastation and pain we feel. Our lives will carry on but they will not be as we had planned.
“Thomas is not with us anymore and he should be here living his life and fulfilling all his goals and dreams.
“This accident should never have happened. Tom was not doing anything wrong; he was just travelling home to his family for Christmas and sadly he never arrived.
“All we, his family have now are cherished memories of him. Tom’s future has gone and ours has changed, and nothing can make that better.
“We will carry on rebuilding our lives without Thomas and at least now we have some kind of closure.”
After sentencing, Sergeant Bob Patterson, from the Serious Collision Investigation Team, said: “This was a truly horrific collision which resulted in the loss of a young man’s life. It was compounded by the fact that a family lost their loved one on Christmas Day.
“The court heard that Humphrys, over a prolonged period, failed to ensure that his horses were kept secure. He had allowed them to graze and wander at will on lands in the Sproughton area, and as a result they were not prevented from gaining access on to the A14.
“I hope that Stacy Humphrys’ guilty plea and sentencing will provide some comfort to Thomas’s family, who have waited over a year for this day to come.”
Following the crash, a section of the A14 westbound carriageway between Copdock and Sproughton was closed for several hours while an accident investigation was carried out.
Humphrys arrived at the scene shortly after the collision took place and acknowledged ownership of the horses. He was arrested at the scene and taken the Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
The three horses died at the scene.