A tired van driver involved in a serious head-on crash had moved his glasses to rub his eyes, a court heard today(FRI).

Zbigniew Mularczyk, aged 39, who left his native Poland 48 hours earlier, drove his Fiat box van went the wrong side of a central barrier just off the Britannia Bridge which links Anglesey and the mainland, Caernarfon crown court was told.

He admitted dangerous driving which caused serious injury, after a crash which left a Skoda driver with potentially life-threatening injuries including a bleed on the brain.

Jailing him for 16 months, Judge Rhys Rowlands said the father-of-two had been coming to the end of a very long journey and only had ten hours sleep.

He had left his workplace in Poland on November 28, drove via Dortmund to Britain, arriving early the following day, went on to Nottingham, and then had the smash on the A55 in North Wales just before 10.30pm on November 30. “I have no doubt at all that you would have been tired and this would have contributed to the accident,” the judge remarked.

He said the defendant had been driving towards Holyhead and needed his glasses to drive safely. He should have stopped to remove them. “There were very serious injuries indeed,” Judge Rowlands said. “In taking off your glasses and continuing to drive while tired there was a substantial risk of danger to yourself and other road users.”

The judge added :”I accept you are genuinely sorry for what happened.”

Mularczyk, who had two drink-driving convictions in Poland, was banned from driving in Britain for 32 months and an extended test was ordered. He wept in the dock.

Frances Willmott, defending, said it was a very short period of poor driving and he was a married father of two.

Prosecuting counsel Elen Owen said IT project manager Orron Leighton had been taken to hospital at Bangor and then transferred more than 100 miles to a regional trauma centre at Stoke on Trent. He had been housebound and full recovery from his injuries was expected to take up to 18 months.