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Fatal A66 crash driver who left scene at high speed told to expect prison

Matthew Leggett and his badly-damaged BMW at the entrance to Setmurthy Woods

A MOTORIST who drove off at high speed after a fatal crash which claimed the life of a pedestrian has been told to “expect an immediate custodial sentence”.

Matthew Leggett went on trial at Carlisle Crown Court having denied trying to “avoid detection” by police in the aftermath of a collision between his BMW 1 series and James Greenwood just before 12-30am on April 7 last year. Mr Greenwood, aged 61 and from Shropshire, was struck while crossing the A66 near Keswick on foot while returning to a camp site with friends, and suffered fatal injuries.

This afternoon (TUES), jurors in the trial were discharged having failed to reach a verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed after deliberating for more than six hours. The foreman indicated that would remain the case even if the jury was granted more time.

In response, a prosecutor revealed a re-trial would not be sought.

Leggett faces no charges in relation to the collision itself. A police forensic collision investigator concluded he swerved immediately before the collision, and that his actions before and at the time of the collision were those expected of a reasonable and competent driver.

However, 24-year-old Leggett will be sentenced having admitted three crimes committed in the immediate aftermath of the collision – dangerous driving, failing to stop and failing to report an accident.

The dangerous driving offence reflects him travelling 12 miles at high speed on rural roads to remote Setmurthy Woods, near Cockermouth, for collection by a friend despite his BMW having a shattered windscreen. A police officer who retraced that route at night to replicate the 12 minutes it took Leggett hit a top speed of 104mph.

Leggett, of Sonnets Way, Cockermouth, will be sentenced on Thursday. “You can have bail between now and then,” Judge David Potter told him, “but you can expect an immediate custodial sentence.”

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