‘Psychotic’ motorist killed Sheffield dad while speeding on wrong side of the road

editorial image

A motorist who killed a Sheffield dad in a head-on collision, while speeding on the wrong side of the road, has been jailed.

Wayne Murphy, left, aged 37,

was sentenced to four years and eight months after killing dad-of-two Neil Eaton in October last year.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Murphy was in the midst of a ‘psychotic episode’ when he crashed his Vauxhall Astra head-on into his 37-year-old victim, who had just dropped his daughters off.

Sentencing Murphy, Judge Julian Goose QC said: “You drove your vehicle on the wrong side of the road into a head-on collision with the deceased.

“He had no chance of avoiding you and the collision 
at high speeds caused his death.”

Neil had dropped off his twin daughters, aged six at the time, at a relative’s home moments before the crash and was driving along Thurgoland Bank, Sheffield, to see his long-term partner and mother to his children.

But on the journey, Neil’s car was struck head-on by Murphy, who was driving at high speed on the wrong side of the road.

Neil suffered head and spinal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

His partner, who does not wish to be named, said: “Neil was a devoted father and loving partner who lived for his family.

“No one can begin to imagine what has been taken from us. We miss him every day.”

The court heard Murphy, who has a long-standing history of depression and mental illness, was having a psychotic episode at the time of the crash after stopping his medication.

Upon being arrested, he told police: “I know that if I had taken my medication I would not have been in that car.”

Judge Goose said Murphy failing to take his medication clearly had ‘some impact’ on the incident, but he could not be sure to what extent.

Witnesses who saw Murphy before the crash described his driving as ‘terrifying’ and estimated his speed at around 80mph – way above the 60mph national speed limit which applied to the road he was travelling on.

Murphy, of Scott Cross, Chapeltown, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous.

Claire Pilsworth, of Irwin Mitchell lawyers, representing Neil’s family, said: “The guilty plea came as an immense relief to Neil’s family, who were spared the distress of a full criminal trial.

“The circumstances of Neil’s death are beyond tragic and his family is still struggling to come to terms with his loss.”