A MOTORIST has been jailed for speeding off at more than 100mph in his badly damaged car after a fatal A66 collision with a pedestrian.
Matthew Paul Leggett, 25, was sent to prison today (THURS) at Carlisle Crown Court by a judge who also locked up his friend, Finlay Lewis Davidson, for criminal conduct in the immediate aftermath of a tragic crash close to Braithwaite, near Keswick, which claimed the life of James Greenwood.
Leggett’s £15,000 BMW 1 series struck 61-year-old Mr Greenwood – also known as Jimmy – who was crossing an unlit stretch of the road on foot while returning to a camp site with friends just before 12-30am on April 7 last year. Seriously injured Mr Greenwood – known as Jimmy – from Market Drayton, Shropshire – died soon afterwards despite one friend attempting CPR as police and paramedics were called.
Leggett sped off without checking what had happened, leaving his details or calling 999. That left friends of Mr Greenwood with only dim phone lights to assess the tragic scene with “people screaming and panicking in the darkness”.
Despite Leggett’s extensively damaged car having a shattered windscreen, he drove 12 miles in just 12 minutes along narrow rural roads to meet Davidson, whom he called while travelling to arrange collection at remote Setmurthy Woods, near Cockermouth. A police officer who later recreated that 12-minute journey hit a top speed of 104mph.
Davidson, 24, was later found to have deleted all call data between he and Leggett after 11pm that night from his mobile phone. Both had since shown genuine remorse, the court heard.
Leggett, of Sonnets Way, Cockermouth, faced no charges in relation to the accident itself, but admitted post-collision dangerous driving, failing to stop and failing to report an accident. An electrician, he was jailed for 16 months and banned from driving for four years. Davidson, of Mabel Wood, Great Clifton, admitted doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice, and was jailed for 10 months.
Lisa Manning, daughter of Mr Greenwood – a father and grandfather – told the court the family’s “world was torn apart” by his death.
Jailing Leggett, Judge David Potter told him: “You could have, and should have, stopped at the side of the A66. You did not.
“You drove off, and I am satisfied that at that moment your only concern was for yourself. You cared not one jot at that moment what or who you had struck on that road.”
He added: “It is sheer good fortune that you weren’t involved in another collision on your reckless journey from Braithwaite to Setmurthy.”
Judge Potter told Davidson: “Misguided loyalty can never be an excuse for setting out to pervert the course of justice.”