May 25 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter, at Cambridge Crown Court
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A DRIVER who was doing twice the speed limit when he knocked down and killed a student on a pelican crossing has been jailed for 43 months.
Michael Moore, 40, had been driving at a minimum speed of 58mph and had run a red light when he hit Jamie Butcher, 22, on Churchill Road, Wisbech, in February last year.
Yesterday (Monday), Cambridge Crown Court heard that Moore’s Chrysler Cruiser hit the 22-year-old with such force that his body was found 44 metres from the crossing.
CCTV showed that the crossing lights had turned amber 3.2 seconds, and red 0.2 seconds, before the crash. Moore had been 82 metres from the crossing when the lights turned amber, but had not braked until after he hit Jamie.
David Matthew, prosecuting, said police calculated Moore’s average speed along the road as 58mph but, at the time of the crash, it could have been even faster.
“As he would have been accelerating, it seems silly to regard him as doing anything other than driving at twice the speed limit,” he said.
He added: “He was trying to get to one of the shops before it closed.”
The court heard that another driver had stopped at the lights in the inside lane. A second pedestrian, who was waiting at the crossing behind Jamie, described seeing Moore’s car accelerate past the stationary vehicle.
Mr Matthew said: “She assumes that he was trying to run the lights. This is almost certainly right.”
Moore originally drove away from the scene but returned soon afterwards and called an ambulance. He claimed that he did not realise what had happened and thought someone had “chucked a slab at him”.
In police interview, Moore also stated that he thought the 30mph road had a speed limit of 40 or even 50mph.
The court heard that Moore was a “persistent burglar” and had a string of previous convictions. He had also committed three speeding offences, one of which involved driving at 85mph on the A47 between Wisbech and King’s Lynn.
Moore, of Murrow Lane, Parson Drove, admitted causing death by dangerous driving. He changed his plea to guilty a week before he was due to go on trial.
Michael Proctor, mitigating, said that although the traffic lights had turned red, Jamie had crossed before the green man had shown on the crossing.
He said: “It is unfortunate and traumatic that had Mr Butcher not crossed at the time he did, against the red signal, the collision may not have happened.”
He added: “That doesn’t take away, of course, Mr Moore’s culpability and excessive speeding.”
Mr Proctor challenged a pre-sentence report which, he said, suggested Moore was “not facing up to the consequences of his actions or showing the level of remorse or shame that the probation officer feels he ought to.”
He said Moore had been “deeply affected” by the incident but had stopped receiving counselling because “he didn’t feel that he deserved it because he was still alive but Mr Butcher was dead.”
Mr Proctor added that Moore was a man who took his “family responsibility seriously, despite his criminal activities”.
Sentencing Moore to 43 months in prison and disqualifying him from driving for four years, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth said: “This is indeed a tragic case.
“It’s tragic in one sense for you because you will, I have no doubt, have this on your conscience and memory for the rest of your life.
“But it’s even more tragic for the family of the deceased whose lives have been shattered. Nothing I can do, in terms of the sentence, can bring him back.”