Asylum seeker working illegally as DPD driver jailed for beating grandfather in Devon
A grieving family is demanding answers after a beloved grandfather dies in a motorcycle accident involving an asylum seeker who was working illegally as a DPD driver under a false name.
The wife and two daughters of Mark Colwill, 58, have been devastated since his death last August and are struggling to do without him – and are now demanding answers from DPD.
He was hit by a DPD van driven by Moldovan Vladimir Stratan, who entered the UK under a false name in 2021 but was allowed to stay after applying for asylum.
Stratan, 26, from West Clyst, near Exeter, was working for DPD through a subcontractor, using a driving license under the false name of Viaral Nirescu, who was a “Romanian” with a fake Bristol address. The driver’s license had his photo on it.
Asylum seeker and DPD driver Moldovan Vladimir Stratan (pictured), 26, from West Clyst, near Exeter, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after admitting to perverting the course of justice, resulting in death by careless driving and driving without insurance and with a false driver’s license
Mark Colwill’s wife and two daughters (pictured) are devastated and struggling to get along without him
Stratan was arrested in October 2021 after entering Scotland from Ireland under the false identity of a Romanian named Sergei Bagrin. He was held for five months before being released with a warning from Stranra Sherriff Court in March.
He then moved to Devon where he was given the wrong driving license and got a job as a delivery driver.
Stratan had already collected four unpaid speeding tickets in two months of driving for DPD at their depot near St Austell in Cornwall. The accident involving Mr Colwill happened when he failed to stop at a give way sign on a country lane in Ashwater, North Devon.
Mr Colwill rode his motorcycle perfectly safely but had no chance of dodging the transit as he sped across the main road he was using. He was mortally wounded and thrown into a ditch, where his family, who lived nearby, found him in excruciating pain.
He had become a grandfather for the first time a year earlier, and his family had been left heartbroken by his death. His wife Karen and daughters Emma and Natalie all wrote personal statements which were read outside Exeter Crown Court.
Emma sobbed as she recounted how the family’s suffering had been exacerbated by Stratan’s lies, especially after they saw him on his knees at the crime scene, apparently praying.
She also questioned what checks were carried out before he got his job as a driver.
She said: “At first I felt sorry for him and felt it was unfair that he had to live with it for the rest of his life, but when I heard he had given false information I was devastated.
“I felt like he didn’t care about my dad and just prayed he wasn’t discovered. He was afraid of being sent back to the country he came from. He didn’t seem to care about anyone else he wouldn’t have given false information.
Emma asked, “Where were the checks? How did he get employed as a driver even though he didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance?
“That night our lives changed forever. We have a life sentence.’
Stratan, 26, from West Clyst, near Exeter, worked for DPD through a subcontractor and used a driving license under the false name of Viaral Nirescu, a ‘Romanian’ with a fake Bristol address (stock photo of a DPD van)
Emma said her one-year-old son Beau was robbed of his grandfather and her dreams of him driving her to their wedding in his one-of-a-kind motor trike were shattered.
Mark’s widow Karen said he was her rock, working up to 70 hours a week to provide for his family and she didn’t know how they could survive without his income.
Stratan admitted to perverting the course of justice and causing the death by negligent driving and driving without insurance and with a false driver’s license.
He was jailed by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court for a year and 10 months and was banned from driving for five years on his release. The judge said the public expects him to be deported at or before his release.
He said to him: “Your immigration status did not allow you to work in this country and you did not have a driver’s license. Despite this, you accepted a job as a driver.
“You approached the intersection at high speed and do not appear to have stopped or braked before driving directly over it. Tragically. Mr. Colwill’s motorcycle was approaching. He drove absolutely competently and you gave him evasive maneuvers.
“He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. I have heard the personal statements of their victims. You are heartbreaking as you describe the impact your poor driving and deception has caused.’
The judge found that DPD’s ability to check Stratan’s references had been diluted because it was working with two subcontractors.
Miss Caroline Bolt, Prosecutor, said Mr Colwill was on his way to a bicycle meeting and was on the main road from Ashwater to Holsworthy Road at 8.30pm on 10 August last year when Stratan’s van came off a side road in his path.
Stratan drove through a give-way sign without stopping, admitting he just looked to the right and didn’t see the bike. He gave police false information by spelling the name on his driver’s license.
He was allowed to leave the scene, but the address on the driver’s license turned out not to exist and he was traced back to his home, where he continued to claim to be Mr Mirescu and gave another address in Dumfries, Scotland .
The truth only emerged after his fingerprints were checked. Police discovered next to his bed four parking tickets he had taken while driving the Transit van in Cornwall in June and July, all under false names.
Miss Bolt said Stratan received a warning, equivalent to a parole, from the Stranra Sheriff Court on March 13, 2022 for entering the UK in October 2021 using false identification on behalf of a Romanian named Sergei Bagrin.
Miss Anishi Kiri, defending herself, read out a letter of apology from Stratan to the Colwill family. She said he was genuinely remorseful and made false statements because he knew he wasn’t allowed to work.
She said he was blinded by the sun at the time of the accident and was working to support his wife and four-year-old son while he waited for his asylum application to be processed.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health/asylum-seeker-working-illegally-as-dpd-driver-jailed-for-hitting-grandfather-in-devon/ Asylum seeker working illegally as DPD driver jailed for beating grandfather in Devon