A BRISTOL man who pleaded guilty to killing a father of two from Falmouth after falling asleep at the wheel has been sentenced. 

Jaroslaw Bakula, aged 35, of Bristol, originally pleaded not guilty to the offence of causing death by dangerous driving, however, during a pre-trial review, changed his plea to guilty.

Bakula appeared at Truro Crown Court on Friday, January 27 for sentencing after a previous appearance for sentencing was adjourned due to an issue between the defence and the prosecution in deciding what category the offence fell into.

Bakula, of Long Cross in Bristol, was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van at the time of the crash, in which the vehicle hit a Ford Mondeo car which was travelling on the correct side of the road in the opposite direction.

In the original report of the accident, police said they were called to a three-vehicle crash at around 3.45pm on Monday, July 13 on the A38 Glynn Valley, near Two Waters Foot.

The vehicles involved were a white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, a white Citroen Relay van and a silver Ford Mondeo.

The driver of the Mondeo, 62-year-old Mr Steven West from Falmouth, was pronounced deceased at the scene, police said.

The other occupants of the vehicles sustained minor injuries.

The court heard how Bakula, who was working as a delivery driver, had been driving for over 17 hours without a meaningful break when the accident happened and had been chased over a number of hours by his employer regarding deliveries he had yet to make.

The prosecution also told the court how Bakula had ignored a number of warning signs that he needed to take a break stating: "As someone who drove for a living, it should have been apparent that having no break was reckless."

It also went on to say that the path Bakula's vehicle took was "consistent with fatigue playing a part."

Amphetamine was found in a sample of blood taken from Bakula after the incident and it was explained that some  of the after-effects of this drug as it wears off were delayed reactions and falling asleep while driving.

The court was also told by Bakula's defence that he was 'genuinely remorseful' and accepted that he and he alone was responsible for what had happened.

In a letter he had written that was read out to court, Bakula said: "I accept that I shouldn't have fallen asleep.

"I never meant to cause the death of Mr West, I should have pulled over.

"I'd like it known that I am sorry for the pain I have caused."

During the sentencing, Judge Robert Linford told Bakula: "It goes without saying that nothing I can say, nothing I can do can compensate the family and friends of Mr West for their awful loss.

"That man's death was caused by you.

"You will live the rest of your life with the realisation that you have taken the life of another human being."

Bakula was handed down a sentence of seven years imprisonment and disqualification from driving for five years.