Four years has been served for a van driver that ran over an e-scooter rider and then killed him in a row with his new girlfriend. 

Samuel Bretherton (25), ran over Ben Smith (20) with his Ford Transit van, fully loaded, in Bamber Bridge Lancashire on February 11, this year. 

Bretherton (of Leyland) wept at Preston Crown Court’s Monday sentencing. After being cleared of murder and found guilty of manslaughter, he was banned from driving again for two years. 

A court was told that Mr Smith was on Station Road riding with John Devane on an e-scooter, while John Devane was on a bicycle.  

They were travelling towards Bretherton about 1pm. At a red light close to a Morrison’s grocery, they heard that Mr Devane, who was Bretheron’s former partner in crime, had ‘booted’ from the van’s side mirror using his foot.

While Mr Smith rode his electric scooter, leaning against the van’s bonnet, there was an altercation. 

Bretherton then continued on his way, pulling Mr Smith beneath the vehicle’s tires and inflicting multiple serious injuries. 

Samuel Bretherton (pictured), 25, ran over and crushed father-of-one Ben Smith, 20, with his fully loaded Ford transit van in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, on February 11 this year

Samuel Bretherton, 25, was the one who ran over Ben Smith (20 years old), with his Ford Transit van fully loaded in Bamber Bridge (Lancashire) on February 11, this year

He died a short time later at Royal Preston Hospital.

Bretherton fled from the scene and then returned home to be arrested.  

He was having an argument with his ex-partner via text just before the incident.   

Bretherton was in tears when Judge Simon Medland (QC) told him that he would be sent to prison for manslaughter.

Following the incident, Zoe Russo was interviewed by Detective Chief insp Zoe Russo. She stated: “My thoughts and prayers are with Ben Smith and those that loved him.”

Ben’s family paid an emotional tribute and stated that Ben deserved to lead a happy and fulfilled life with his family, friends and family.

“He was a kind and generous person. All the wonderful stories and words shared by him confirm that.

“His reputation precedes his, the polite and caring young man with the infectious laugh and cheekiest smile who would do anything to help anyone. His life was cruelly cut short and all of us will mourn for him for the rest of our lives.

“We only hope that he realizes how much he is loved and how many lives have he touched within such a short time. 

“He will be deeply missed forever and ever.”

Paula Smith, Mr Smith’s mother, said that she was dissatisfied with Bretherton’s sentence. Lancashire Live reported that Judge Medland stated that the court wasn’t there to exact’revengeance’ through a long jail sentence. 

The family of Mr Smith (pictured) said they were unhappy with the sentence handed to Bretherton

Pictured: Mr Smith’s family expressed dissatisfaction with Bretherton’s sentence

Paula stated in a victim statement that Ben had left a huge hole or emptiness in her life. 

“My world has changed forever,” she said. My one child is gone for good. 

“For over 20 years, Ben was my son before I could take him away so recklessly and without any care.” 

Judge Medland QC stated: “Those looking for revenge in crown court sentencing should consider other options. This court isn’t here to exact revenge.

The equivalent of the life that someone’s family or friends has lost is not a sentence that any court can give.

Ben Smith is a man of immense value. He was young and loving with great potential.

“This requires deep sympathy. Condolences are extended to all the Smith’s family members and friends.

Judge said there wasn’t any way to know if Bretherton was aware that Smith was leaning against his van as he left the dispute with Mr Devane.  

He replied, “Ben put his self in front of your car, which was stationary, but for whatever reason, moved away.” 

“He might have tried to escape from the danger he was in. It is possible that he tripped and fell on his scooter.

“I’m not certain you knew Ben was behind your vehicle. You had only a few moments, given the explosive episode in which you were involved, to proceed – but so tragically Ben died.”

Bretherton, he said, had faced numerous threats up until the time of the incident. 

He stated that it was only his tragic misfortune (Mr Smith) to be there on that particular day.