THE family of a “brilliant dad” and “beautiful husband” were tearful in court as the driver who caused his death in a head-on crash was handed an 11-year jail sentence.

However Adrian Wojciechowski, 29, convicted by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving, was not present to receive his sentence as he left the UK before his trial began.

David and Heather Grant-Jones, from Weymouth, were travelling home from their son’s graduation at Portsmouth University on July 14 last year when their Land Rover Freelander was hit head on by Wojciechowski’s BMW on the A35 Puddletown Bypass.

Mr Grant-Jones died at the scene while Mrs Grant-Jones, who suffered life-changing injuries, was airlifted to hospital.

During a week-long trial at Bournemouth Crown Court, jurors heard evidence from witnesses who saw Wojciechowski driving at speeds in excess of 100mph and carrying out dangerous manoeuvres around other motorists just moments before the fatal crash, at the point where the road narrowed into a single lane near Bere Regis.

A blood sample from Wojciechowski revealed the presence of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – a primary active component of cannabis – at a level of three microgrammes per litre of blood. The legal limit is two microgrammes per litre of blood.

Wojciechowski’s two passengers, Lukasz Mleczek and Pawel Arnista, were also seriously injured in the crash.

The jury yesterday unanimously found Wojciechowski guilty of one count of causing death by dangerous driving and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after deliberating for an hour and 20 minutes.

Wojciechowski, who is believed to be in Poland, was sentenced by presiding judge Stephen Climie in his absence, who branded the driver’s actions “arrogant” and “stupid.”

In a statement Mrs Grant-Jones said their son’s graduation had been “one of the proudest days of their life” but it ended in her husband being “cruelly snatched away” from his family.

She said: “It’s almost impossible to comprehend that never again will my husband walk through the door.

“He was a brilliant dad. I know how lucky I was to have him in my life. He was a hard-working and wonderful man.

“He worked away every three weeks and I used to get so excited when I heard his car pull up. Knowing this will never happen again is unbearable.

“We had 28 wonderful years together. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

“I often think about what we could have done differently that day, we could have left a little later or taken a different route, but the reality is that if it hadn’t been us it would have been someone else.

“I can only hope that the heartbreak we feel will be prevented from happening to anyone else ever again.”

Further statements, written by members of Mr Grant-Jones’s family, were read to the court by prosecutor Simon Jones.

Kerry Arnold, Mr Grant-Jones’s stepdaughter, said: “I hope you [Wojciechowski] find a way to live with yourself, I hope you sleep at night after destroying the world of a wonderful and generous person. Our hearts are broken.”

Sentencing Wojciechowski to 11 years in prison, Judge Climie called his actions “arrogant,” with a “blatant disregard for the safety of others.”

“The death of David Grant-Jones, a loved and loving husband, father, brother and uncle, was unnecessary and wholly preventable,” he said.

Wojciechowski, of West Molesey, Surrey, was jailed for 11 years for causing death by dangerous driving. He was jailed for four years each for the three charges of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to run concurrently. He has been also been banned from driving for 10 years, a ban which will begin on his release from prison.

He had earlier been jointly charged along with another driver, who was removed from the trial after the prosecution dropped its allegation that the pair had been ‘racing’ before the crash.

"Active enquiries" to locate Wojciechowski

Sergeant Fern Graham, of the traffic unit, said: “The reckless driving of Adrian Wojciechowski on Saturday, July 14 2018 resulted in fatal consequences with a devastating impact on the family of Mr Grant-Jones.

“Nothing will make up for the loss of their loved one and I can only hope that the conviction at court today will in some way help them to move forward.

“This case is another sad reminder that any time a driver gets behind the wheel of a car they are in control of a potentially lethal machine and there can be horrible consequences if they are not driving with appropriate care and respect for other road users.

“We will continue to make enquiries to locate Wojciechowski so he can be apprehended and face justice for his actions.”