An HGV driver who caused the death of an RAF helicopter pilot who had parked up on the M40 to help out following a collision, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Malcolm Clarkson pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving after he drove into the back of Scott McConnell’s car between junctions 12 and 13 on 19 November 2019.

McConnell (pictured), had stopped to assist after two other vehicles had been involved in a collision and had parked up to await assistance.

Warwick crown court heard how McConnell, who was 26 and had just qualified as an RAF pilot, was on the phone to Warwickshire police when his car was struck by Clarkson’s Scania at 61mph.

A forensic collision investigation report concluded that Clarkson had been talking on a hands free kit moments before the collision and he braked just 24 metres, or one second, prior to the impact.

Police arrived at the scene and officers performed CPR on McConnell until paramedics arrived, but he did not regain consciousness and died the following morning in hospital.

Speaking after Clarkson’s sentence, police staff investigator Liam Ryan said: “This is a particularly tragic case as Scott was trying to protect another driver when he was killed.

“The collision occurred when Malcolm Clarkson had just finished speaking to his mum on the hands free system in the cab.

“There is no doubt that being on the phone hands free moments before the collision distracted Clarkson to the extent that he was unable to react to the road ahead as he was not giving it his full attention.

“This had fatal consequences for Scott, a young promising adult who was doing what he could to help another road user.”

Ryan added: “Whilst the sentence demonstrates the seriousness of this offence, and Scott’s family can be proud of his actions, unfortunately nothing can bring Scott back to his family.”

Clarkson was also banned from driving for six years and nine months and must take an extended retest.