Matthew Topham, a £45million jackpot winner, caused a head-on crash that killed pensioner Mary Regler as she travelled with her husband through North Cockerington on Christmas Day
A EuroMillions winner who caused a killer Christmas Day crash by turning to pick up his son’s teddy has described the moment of the smash.
Matthew Topham, 31, was spared jail over the head-on crash that killed pensioner Mary Regler, 75.
Footage of the driver speaking to an officer following the deadly incident has now been released publicly by Lincolnshire Police after it was shown to the jury in his trial.
Topham can be seen recounting to the officer how he had turned around to retrieve his son’s teddy from a footwell in the moments before he caused the collision.
In the footage the multi-millionaire lottery winner appears visibly upset as he tells the officer: “It was just a simple mistake to try and help my son and I ****ed up someone’s life.”
Following his sentencing over the death of the former Post Office cleaner, Topham said he would carry the guilt “forever.”
Mrs Regler, 75, died while her husband, driver Rodney Regler, 78, was left with serious injuries in the 2019 smash.
Keen motorsports fan Topham admitted causing death by dangerous driving before being cleared of two more serious offences earlier this week.
Following the hearing police released bodyworn camera footage showing Topham at the accident scene.
The footage shows the officer starting by asking a visibly shaken Topham if he is okay.
The driver replies: “I’m fine, I’m just gutted about everything obviously.”
The officer asks him to recount what happened.
Topham tells the officer his son had begun crying in the backseat.
“My youngest had dropped his teddy on the floor,” he says.
“My oldest said ‘he dropped his teddy, he wants his teddy’ and he started going off, so I turned round to get the teddy, slowed down, and when I looked forward I was on the wrong side of the road and there was headlights.”
He tells the officer he thought he braked but he appeared unsure, shaking his head at the officer.
Topham claims he pulled to the right toward a verge, but trails off and shakes his head repeatedly.
“It was just a simple mistake to try and help my son and I ****ed someone’s life,” he tells the officer.
The officer tells him he understands exactly how he feels, saying: “I’ve been there. I’ve been in exactly the position you’re in now and I know how s*** it feels.”
Lincolnshire Police clarified in a statement following the trial that the officer had in the past been involved in a crash where someone killed, but was “in no way to blame for the collision.”
Judge Catrina Sjolin Knight handed Topham a 16 week suspended jail sentence and one year driving ban.
She told him: “I accept that you looked back and away from the road for only a moment.
“Sadly though you were approaching a bend.
“You tended as best you could to Mrs Regler, very sadly she died of her injuries.”
Topham, who won a £45million jackpot with wife Cassey in 2012, refused to comment as he left court.
He will have to wear an electronic tag and obey a 7pm to 7am curfew for the next three months.
The Judge added: “I impose this specifically as a punishment… as the country begins to come out of lockdown.”
Judge Sjolin Knight praised Rodney for being “extremely dignified” in the victim impact statement he gave to the court.
The grieving husband said: “No matter what happens nothing can bring my wife back to me and I go through each day knowing this.
“It has ruined my life and I’m sure it has ruined the other driver’s too but I will not let this dictate my life.
“I bear the driver no malice but I will never forgive him for what he has done to me and my family.”
The fatal accident happened near the Reglers’ home in North Cockerington, Lincs, on December 25, 2019.
Prosecutors argued Topham’s driving was “dangerous” because he had taken his eyes off the road for up to three seconds.
But jurors disagreed after hearing his evidence that he was only distracted for a “split second”.
Lincoln Crown Court heard his two-year-old son’s scream was so piercing that it made him “go crazy”.
During the sentencing hearing Topham’s lawyer Paul Greaney QC said his client wished to “acknowledge the dignity and compassion of the Regler family”.
He described their reaction to the case as “truly remarkable” adding that Topham still feels “deep and genuine remorse”.
In a statement issued after he was spared jail,Topham said he would carry his guilt with him forever.
The statement read: “I cannot begin to express the remorse I feel about the tragic events of 25th December 2019.
“I am deeply sorry for my actions and the devastating impact that they have had on the Regler family, and I will carry that guilt with me forever.”
Following the case DI Joanna Reeves of Lincs Police said: “The circumstances of the crash bring home just how very important it is for drivers to keep full attention on the road ahead.
“There are distractions both inside and outside of vehicles and while in hindsight the right thing for Matthew Topham to do would have been to find a safe place to pull over.
“He didn’t do that and he now lives with the consequences.”