A motorist who killed a taxi driver while driving the wrong way on the A505 near Hitchin has avoided jail.

Perry Johnson passed oncoming traffic before crashing his silver Ford Mondeo head-on into Raja Waheed Khan’s grey Toyota Prius at a speed of just under 60mph.

Mr Khan, a 46-year-old father-of-three from Luton, died at the scene, while his passenger was seriously injured and spent a week in hospital. Johnson and his partner were also treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Johnson, of Stonar Gardens in Sandwich, Kent, was cleared of causing death by dangerous driving at St Albans Crown Court, but the 31-year-old was convicted of causing death by careless driving, having earlier indicated he would have pleaded guilty.

Judge Michael Grieve gave Johnson a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months. He must also complete 120 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in costs. He has banned from driving for two years and six months.

The crash happened at 11.30pm on September 10, 2021, when Johnson turned right out of Carter’s Lane. He had been out for the night with his partner and was unfamiliar with the road.

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He claimed his SatNav had informed him to turn right, but prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: "It was either through incompetence or inattention. There were clear indicators that he was going the wrong way. There were huge road signs."

Defending, Charles Durrant said Johnson was heading towards Hemel Hempstead and did not know the road, but that he was fit to drive and was not speeding.

"It was an over-reliance on a SatNav. He was in unfamiliar territory," Mr Durrant added.

The court heard Johnson had a previous conviction of careless driving, when he had parked in the fast lane of the M25 back in 2019, falling asleep after being exhausted from a long shift.

In a victim personal statement, Mr Khan’s widow Rabina said: "I have lost the love of my life.

"After my husband’s death, life has become lonely for me and my girls. My family fell apart."

Judge Grieve added: "He was a devoted husband and hugely-loved father. We can only offer our deepest sympathy.

"No sentence I can pass can bring back your beloved husband."