A MAN who caused a horror smash on the A420 that killed his wife and another woman has been handed a community penalty.

Oxford Crown Court heard yesterday how investigators could not explain what had caused the head-on smash that killed Shirley Crapper, 72, and Judith Henderson, 77, on May 6 last year.

Behind the dock at the court was Howard Crapper, 68, of Hinton Parva, Swindon.

The former chairman of the Freemen of the City of Oxford had already admitted at Oxford Magistrates' Court two counts of causing death by careless driving.

READ AGAIN: Pensioner, 68, admits A420 crash at Fyfield that killed his wife.

At his sentencing hearing yesterday prosecutors said that there was little explanation for why Crapper's car veered into the path of an oncoming car shortly after 3pm that day.

Outlining events prosecutor Edward Hollingsworth said that Crapper had been driving a grey Peugeot 3008 southbound along the A420 between Fyfield and Tubney.

Crapper was driving back from Coventry with his wife, having spent the previous night at a social function with the Freemen of the City of Coventry.

While driving on that stretch of road, his car veered into the path of an oncoming Skoda Octavia driven by 77-year old Judith Henderson, from Cobham, Surrey.

READ ALSO: Inquest into M40 horror crash says driver had brain cancer.

Crapper's wife Shirley died of multiple injuries at the scene, while Mrs Henderson died in hospital two days later.

While at hospital having suffered significant injuries himself Crapper was tested for alcohol and drugs and results proved negative for anything that might affect his driving.

His mobile phone was also located in the boot of the car and network checks proved that there had been no activity that may have caused a distraction.

Mr Hollingsworth said: "It remains unknown precisely what happened to cause this defendant's vehicle to go on to that oncoming lane.

"It can only be his actions or inactions that caused this but it is not clear why or how on the evidence the Crown Prosecution Service has."

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In mitigation at the hearing Rhodri Jones said that his client, a retired civil engineer, was 'completely devastated' for what had happened and was remorseful.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross called the incident a 'terrible crash with hideous consequences' but said that he would not order a jail term.

Crapper was handed a two-year community order to include a four month curfew, 10 days rehabilitation activity requirement and programme requirement. He was also banned from driving for three years and must pay costs of £340 and a victim surcharge.