A VAN driver sobbed in court when he was jailed for one year for causing the death of an elderly couple after a horrific crash on the A303. 

Graham Ian Shearing, 33, of Hayes Close, Canford Bottom in Wimborne, was driving a Nissan Interstar van on the A303 near Buckland St Mary on October 31, 2016 when he veered onto the other side of the road and hit the elderly couple's black Ford Fiesta. 

Husband and wife, Robert and Brenda Newton, both 72, from Ottery St Mary in Devon, tragically died at the scene. 

Shearing was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court today (October 20) after pleading guilty to two charges of death by careless driving at an earlier hearing at Yeovil Magistrates Court.

Prosecuting Nikki Coombe said Shearing had lost control of his vehicle along the A303 and collided head on with the couple's Ford Fiesta. 

Coombe said Shearing told witnesses and police that he wasn't to blame for the crash and said Mr and Mrs Newton's car had come towards him in the road. 

Shearing's statement was later discounted by police but the prosecution said this had caused a huge amount of emotional stress for the family. 

Coombe read victim impact statements from two of the couple's daughters and one son which said their death has had repercussions on their family life, with one of the daughters having taken time off work due to emotional stress.

She said the family wanted Shearing to apologise for shifting the blame onto the couple so the family could have some closure on the incident. 

Defending, Hopkins, said Shearing was 'truly sorry' for trying to shift the blame and said he wanted to apologise to the victims family for the distress he had caused. 

He said police collision investigators had confirmed the crash was caused by a momentary lapse in concentration or by excessive speed. 

Hopkins said Shearing is 'highly thought of' by friends and colleagues and said a custodial sentence would have a big impact on his ability to provide financial support for his two sons. 

Sentencing, Judge David Evans said: "In my judgement only a custodial sentence can be justified, it is unavoidable. 

"No sentence can right the wrong that has been done here but I hope that this will help the family find some closure."

Judge Evans sentenced Shearing to 12 months in prison for each count of death by careless driving to run concurrent. 

Shearing will also be disqualified from driving for 18 months and will have to take an extended driving test.