Barnsley man jailed after postman killed by dangerous driving

Sheffield Crown Court
Barrie Barker was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday [PA Media]

A 69-year-old man has been jailed for eight years for causing the death of a father due to dangerous driving.

Barrie Barker, of Dodworth, in Barnsley, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.

He carried out a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre in his Mini Cooper S on Claycliffe Road, in Barugh Green, Barnsley, in April 2022.

His car clipped a Vauxhall Astra belonging to Alex Firth, 34, who died at the scene.

Mr Firth's wife, and 10-year-old son from a previous relationship, were also in the car when it started spinning uncontrollably from the impact of Mr Barker's vehicle.

Both were left with serious injuries from which they are still recovering physically and mentally.

'Catastrophic bomb'

Mrs Firth's injuries included bleeding on the brain, rib fractures, a shoulder fracture, pelvis and lower leg fractures, and a kidney laceration.

In a statement to the court on Friday, she said she has subsequently been reliant on her mother for help while she recovers.

Meanwhile, the mother of 10-year-old Zachary, spoke in court about how the crash, and losing his father, had affected her son.

She described the collision as a "catastrophic bomb that ripped through my family".

In a statement read out to the court, she said her son was once a "happy-go-lucky boy who enjoyed socialising with his friends and was passionate about football", but was now "depressed, and suffers from extreme anxiety - unable to sleep until the early hours".

"You took away his chance of saying goodbye to his dad," she added, directing her remarks at Barker.

Dashcam footage

Mr Firth, who worked as a postman in Leeds, died at the scene while an off-duty paramedic was in attendance.

Barker was driving behind them when he made the decision to overtake their car on a 40mph-section of the road, despite not having a clear view ahead.

He had tried to blame the collision on Mr Firth, saying the Vauxhall Astra was initially going very slowly but had then accelerated while the Mini was already in the opposite carriageway, leaving Barker unable to go back into his previous lane.

But dashcam footage showed that both cars had been travelling at similar speeds, and that Barker had had enough space to stay behind the Astra.

The jury rejected his claims and found him guilty following a five-day trial earlier this month.

Barker's charges included a single count of death by dangerous driving, and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

During Friday's sentencing, he was given eight years imprisonment for the count of dangerous driving, as well as three, and two, concurrent years for the counts of causing serious injury.

He was also disqualified from driving for 10 years, three months and 14 days.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Send your story ideas to