A boy racer speeding to visit his new sweetheart in London lost control of the car and killed a father-of-three before cowardly fleeing the scene on foot in a horrifying hit-and-run, a court heard.

Thame labourer Pete Chamberlain was starting a night shift driving towards Heathrow on the M40 between junction 2 for Beaconsfield and 1a for the M25 when he killed in a catastrophic crash caused by the careless young driver.

Minutes before the fatal crash, 28-year-old BMW motorist Gagandeep Rai, from Slough, was weaving through the 8pm traffic at racing speed, driving "like an idiot" as he undertook and overtook cars at up to 112mph, a judge heard.

The court watched dashcam footage of the moment the silver saloon car span out of control, fishtailing across three lanes before smashing into the victim's lorry on September 18, 2019.

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Father-of-three Pete and colleague Paul Ward were sent flying off the motorway, hurtling through a safety barrier with the lorry coming to a rest on its roof in an embankment. The 39-year-old lorry driver was killed instantly after a fence post impaled his chest in the motions of the accident, while his passenger Mr Ward suffered life-changing injuries.

In what was described as a "truly heartbreaking" statement to the court, widow Gemma Chamberlain sobbed as she looked at the defendant, saying: "Because of you I am here today. Because of your actions we have lost a hard-working man, my best friend, husband and role model to my three children.

"Because of you they will never be tucked into bed by their dad at night and do all the things they should be doing with their dad. Because of you I have to be mum and dad.

Bucks Free Press: Pete and wife GemmaPete and wife Gemma

"Because of you, I have cried every day for the past 18 months, I barely sleep and I have to watch my children live out their worst nightmare, saying ‘I wish daddy were here’. My husband did not deserve to die. Your sentence will never be enough. I hate you and I will never forgive you."

Seconds after the crash, boy racer Rai span out of control onto the hard shoulder before exiting his car bragging: "I am alright, I have only come out with a cut to my hand, I was lucky."

The cowardly motorist frantically searched in the destroyed vehicle for his mobile phone and threw a bottle out of the window before fleeing on foot, leaving a scene of total devastation behind him.

Bucks Free Press: The scene. Picture by Peter ManningThe scene. Picture by Peter Manning

"He was chased by a number of other drivers and climbed over a fence at the side of the motorway. He then went through shrublands before getting into a car which left at speed," prosecutor Nigel Ogbourne said.

However, defence barrister Sarah Forshaw QC wholeheartedly advocated that the young man did not realise he had hurt anybody in the crash before he ran away.

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She said: "When the crash happened he rolled down the hard shoulder, thinking he is lucky to be alive, he throws the Corona bottle out of the window in the hope he was not tested for drink - he was not impaired.

"He had no idea that anyone had been seriously injured, far less that anyone had been killed. He thought he would be in trouble, he thought people would be angry that he had driven like an idiot.

"He ran like a coward without appreciating that anyone had suffered. He has told me that if he had known there was a lorry in the bushes with one person seriously injured and one dead, he would never have left the scene."

The day after the tragedy, police attended his parents' home in Slough before discovering Rai was in Wexham Park Hospital receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the crash. Officers broke the tragic news of Mr Chamberlain's death, before arresting him on suspicion of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

During his arrest, the defendant said: "All I remember is hitting into the side of the lorry, the bonnet came up. Oh f*** did someone die? I wish something happened to me instead of someone else."

Rai originally claimed he had suffered from a pre-existing medical condition giving him cramps and twitches and a trial was set for April 26.

However, the defendant was so "moved" when the victim’s family burst into tears in the courtroom - after he denied causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving - that he immediately instructed his solicitor that he would be pleading guilty, his defence barrister claimed.

Appearing over video link, the defendant said: "I am truly and deeply sorry for your loss and the devastation I have caused. I cannot imagine the hole I have left... it brings great shame to me.

"Before I was remanded I saw you crying, I realised the pain and emptiness I have caused. I am not asking for forgiveness, I do not forgive myself. I wish I could go back in time, I am deeply sorry for everything I have caused."

The court heard that Rai had a "sweetheart" and now cannot get married to her and he had been attending the Sikh temple praying for forgiveness following the horrific crash.

The judge heard that Rai had one previous conviction for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in 2015. He had provided a false alibi to police for a man who was convicted of dangerous driving, before having a change of heart and handing himself in.

Pete Chamberlain was working nights at Bridgetech Limited on September 18, 2019, driving to a site on the M25 near Heathrow airport with passenger Paul Ward when his lorry was catapulted off the road.

In a statement, crash survivor Mr Ward said: "We had loaded our 17.5 ton lorry and it was Pete’s turn to drive, we had been travelling for about 40 minutes when Pete shouted ‘what the f***.’ That was the last thing I heard Pete say.

"What seemed like a flash of light happened before the lorry was smashed into. It rolled onto its roof and slipped down into an embankment, but I was still conscious. All I could feel was immense pain, my leg had taken the brunt, it had snapped at a 90-degree angle.

"My overalls starting changing colour as blood soaked into them. The pain was unbearable. I kept shouting to Pete to switch the engine off, I thought the lorry would go up in flames.

"Emergency services cut the cab to get to us, I asked them to help Pete first. A firefighter crawled over me to get to Pete, I heard him say ‘he’s gone.’"

Mr Ward was rushed to hospital where he spent the next two months recovering from three leg surgeries, before he suffered a worrying blood clot.

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The court heard that to this day his lower leg remains numb, he walks with the support of a boot brace and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks after he lost his colleague in the horrific ordeal.

Sitting at Aylesbury Crown Court, Judge Francis Sheridan described the driving as appalling before sentencing Rai to seven years and two months in prison. Rai, of Stafford Avenue, Slough, Berks., was disqualified from driving for five years and will be subject to an extended test qualification.

He added: "There was no need to weave in and out of traffic, you were doing so because you were impatient, you were going to visit your girlfriend."

Following the emotional sentencing hearing, Judge Sheridan asked that everyone leave the courtroom in silence "as a mark of respect of the late Pete Chamberlain".

Pete, formerly of Princes Risborough, left behind wife Gemma and children Chloe, Rosie and Zac.