'I've been handed a life sentence of pain' - Napton widow's road safety warning after husband killed in crash

A Napton widow said she has been handed a 'life sentence of pain' after her husband was killed in a motorcycling accident.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 2:10 pm
Happier times - Chris and Linda.

Former army bomb disposal major Chris Gooderham, 58, was killed when his BMW motorcycle and a Mitsubishi pick-up truck collided near Southam.

The Mitsubishi driver was due to stand trial in connection with the collision.

However, criminal proceedings collapsed before the case reached court.

Former army bomb disposal major, Chris Gooderham.

Chris’ wife, Linda, of Napton, instructed expert road accident lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to launch a civil case and help her family access the specialist support they require to try to come to terms with their loss.

Linda, 64, has now joined her legal team in supporting Road Safety Week.

She is warning of the consequences families can be left to face because of crashes.

It comes after lawyers secured an undisclosed settlement from the Mitsubishi driver’s insurers.

Louise Binks, the specialist road accident lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Linda, said: “Chris’ death in such circumstances has been devastating for all of his family and friends.

“Understandably the last few years and trying to come to terms with what happened have been particularly difficult for Linda.

“While nothing can make up for Chris’ death we’re pleased to have at least helped provide Linda and the family with answers they deserve.

“However, it’s also vital that people are aware of the catastrophic consequences collisions can result in and the need to take care on the roads at all times.”

Chris was in the Army for 12 years and commanded 500 men in the first Gulf War in 1990. After leaving the military he became a logistics manager.

He was also the captain of Napton village cricket team and had played rugby for Scotland Schoolboys. He had also completed two London marathons.

Chris was travelling to go shopping in Leamington when the Mitsubishi collided with his bike on the B4451 between Southam and Deppers Bridge in June 2017.

Chris, who was wearing a high-vis jacket, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly afterwards Linda tried to drive through Deppers Bridge but was turned away by police because of the crash, not knowing it was Chris who was involved.

She said: “Chris was the most wonderful person.

"He was kind, supportive, funny, reliable, honest and brought out the best in everyone who knew him.

“Chris was very good at everything he put his mind to.

"He was someone who loved trying new things but at the same time was very methodical and safety aware.

"He always considered all possible outcomes of a challenge and took every step possible in order to ensure he was safe and aware which was a legacy of his training as a bomb disposal officer.

“He was a very careful biker and was cautious in every decision he made on his bike as he appreciated the dangers of the road. I had no hesitation in riding with him; we always wore high visibility vests and made ourselves as visible as possible.”

Linda added: “Seeing Chris in the mortuary after he died was heart-breaking. I wasn’t allowed to touch him or kiss him goodbye.

“The last few years and having to try and accept Chris’ death and then finding out the criminal case wasn’t going ahead have been crushing and mentally debilitating.

“Our lives were very much a partnership and life is completely different without Chris. He was a very strong person and was always full of fun.

“I miss Chris every day. I’ve lost my best friend, the person I love the most in this world and that is truly soul-destroying. I’ve been handed a life sentence of pain.

“All I can hope for now is that by speaking out people realise the heartache others can be left to face because of road traffic accidents and be aware that any vehicle is a potentially dangerous machine which can devastate families.”

Road Safety Week runs from November 15 to 21 and is organised by the charity Brake.