A man has been jailed after his horses escaped on to an unlit road and caused carnage which killed a cousin of Soham murder victim Holly Wells.
Twenty-three-year-old Thomas Allen, 23, of Soham, was driving home on Christmas Eve with his girlfriend when his car hit one of five horses which had strayed onto the A14 dual carriageway
He died 24 hours later on Christmas Day 2012 - ten years after the death of schoolgirl Holly who was murdered with friend Jessica Chapman by school caretaker Ian Huntley.
Horse owner Stacy Humphrys 27, who was responsible for a herd of between 30-40 animals, had been repeatedly warned about previous escapes.
The fatal accident came when a group wandered onto the road near Ipswich when another six people were injured, three horses died and four vehicles were damaged in the horrific pile-up around 10.20pm on December 24, 2012.
Humphrys admitted causing a public nuisance and was jailed at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday for two years and four months.
Judge John Devaux told him: “You were well aware from previous and recent escapes that the site was unsuitable for keeping animals.
“You were warned they were a hazard and this was an accident waiting to happen.”
The judge accepted that fencing at the disused British Sugar site where the horses were kept could have been tampered with. But said the owners had a “general duty of care” to their animals.
In a victim impact statement Mr Allen’s mother, Lesley, described the heartache of having to tell her 14 year-old daughter on Christmas Day that her big brother had died.
Paul Donegan, defending, said Humphrys had expressed remorse for what had happened and had co-operated with the authorities investigating the collision. He said Humphrys had taken steps to keep the site where the horses were kept secure.
Outside court the family of Mr Allen, said the accident “should never have happened.”
“There is no relief or happiness here today, our loss is just as strong as it was on Christmas Day 2012. Nothing can take away the total devastation and pain we feel. Our lives will carry on but they will not be as we had planned. Thomas is not with us anymore and he should be here living his life and fulfilling all his goals and dreams. All we, his family have now are cherished memories of him.”