AN ‘exceptional’ Royal Marine was spared jail after he admitted causing the death of close friend Nathan Elvin on a road near Louth.
Mark Selby, 22, pleaded guilty to causing the death of the promising 21-year-old chef, by careless driving on the A16 at Haugham in April 2011, when he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court on Thursday.
The two men, from Louth, were returning from Skegness in a convoy of three cars when Selby lost control of his new Honda coupé.
Nathan, who worked at Kenwick Park Hotel and lived in Queen Street was killed instantly when the car hit a bank and rolled over. He had not been wearing a rear seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle.
While sat in a police car at the scene of the crash which occured shortly after 11.45pm Selby told an officer: “It was my fault. I was driving too fast.”
The court heard Selby had not been drinking or racing his friends but was unfamiliar with the car which he had only owned for a few days.
Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said Selby was travelling somewhere in the region of 65mph when he lost control for a moment on a left hand bend.
“He steered to the right but overcorrected,” Mr Aspden added. “The net result was that he lost control of the Honda. It span across the road in a clockwise direction.”
Mr Aspden told the court tragically Nathan would probably not have lost his life if he had been wearing a seatbelt.
The death of Nathan, known to his friends as Nate, saw an outpouring of emotion on Facebook, with thousands of messages sent in his memory.
In a victim impact statement which was read out in court, Nathan’s mother said: “My life will never be the same again.”
The court heard Selby faced losing his career in the Royal Marines if he recieved an immediate jail sentence.
Selby of Mount Pleasant Avenue, Louth, who is serving with the Royal Marines in Scotland, admitted a charge of causing death by careless driving following the crash on April 7 last year.
He was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for a year, disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to reside where directed by the Royal Marines for six months.
Passing sentence Recorder Timothy Raggatt QC told Selby the loss of his friend’s life had to be marked by a prison sentence because he was driving too fast and knew the road.
“The car that you were driving was new to you and a relatively unusual vehicle. You had only had it a matter of days, it follows you were unfamiliar with it,” Recorder Raggatt added.
But suspending the sentence Recorder Raggatt explained he had recieved an impressive testimonial from his commanding officer: “As a Royal Marine you are at the very sharp end of military service,” Recorder Raggot said.