THE family of a distinguished East Yorkshire entrepreneur have paid tribute to his memory after a skip lorry driver has admitted causing his death by careless driving on the A1079 Beverley bypass.
John Jenkinson, 49, of Laughton Road, Beverley, was driving a 32-tonne Transwaste lorry which ploughed into the back of a Ford Ka trapping Henry Norman Gostelow, 91, of Watton, near Driffield.
Mr Gostelow, whose family founded the H. Gostelow & Co leather business, was on his way to see his wife Jean in St Mary’s Care Home in the car driven by his daughter Elizabeth.
He died from his injuries in the accident which was triggered when David Watson in a Skoda Octavia braked suddenly fearing a pheasant in the road. They were all driving towards Hull. It set off a chain reaction and the Ka and the skip drivers had not left a big-enough gaps - ploughing into the back of each other.
Mr Jenkinson appeared at Hull Crown Court on Monday (October 1) and on the eve of a scheduled trial and pleaded guilty to unlawfully causing the death by careless or inconsiderate driving on June 14 last year.
Crown barrister Simon Waley said Mr Jenkinson told police he was distracted by a buzzer warning light in the cab, but was not affected by drugs or mechanical defects.
Jenkinson told police: “I misjudged my distance. That is all I can say. I could have stopped but I didn’t.”
Judge John Dowse read out a victim impact statement from Catherine Wilkie, Mr Gostelow’s second eldest. He said: “He was a remarkable man. He was quite a character, a hard-working man still at the helm in his 70s. He was a strong man.”
The court heard he was born on January 3 1920 and went to Malet Lambert School, in Hull. He met his wife Jean there, but they did not form a relationship until after the war. He left school and went to work for the family firm H. Gostelo & Co. They made leather luggage, satchels and door stops. At its height it employed 50 people. When war broke out he signed up for the Royal Navy. He quickly rose through the ranks and had responsibility for the Catafighters, the Hurricanes which launched off merchant trawlers, designed to protect the fleet in the North Atlantic convoys to Murmansk, Russia. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander. As a young sailor on exercise he laid claim to being the first person to order a pink gin in Canada.
He returned home and married Jean moving to Rookery Park, Anlaby. Together they have three children Elizabeth, Kathryn, and Timothy. He developed his business at Studley Street, Hull, designing his own building.
He enjoyed life. He sailed at the East Yorkshire Yacht Club in Bridlington and at Brough, he liked football and he played golf into his 80s. He was running the firm in his 70s.
When his wife became ill, she moved to a care home and he moved to his daughters’ home in Watton. He visited his wife every day.
Defence barrister Richard Clews said Mr Jenkinson lost his job and his partner had a baby termination because they feared he would be jailed.
“He knows the Gostelo family has been badly affected,” said Mr Clews. “He was for 20 years a professional driver covering 75,000 miles a year and not had a single endorsement. He is now working as a forklift driver.”
Judge Dowse said Mr Jenkinson’s driving fell below the standard expected but he did not intend to kill.
“He did what, if I may say, each of us do on our daily drive- not pay enough attention. He did not leave enough space or pay enough attention to his speed and some culpability may lie, perhaps not as much as his, elsewhere.”
He banned Mr Jenkinson from driving for 12 months, ordered £850 costs and ordered he should complete 180 hours community punishment.
Speaking outside court Timothy Gostelow said he accepted the judge’s sentence. “He never set out to kill anyone. He will suffer financially because of this. He may not keep his job. The affects will last a long time.”