JAILED: Four years for teenage driver who mowed down and killed two pedestrians on March road
- Credit: Archant
A TEENAGE driver with a “cavalier attitude” to road safety has today been jailed for four years for mowing down and killing two pedestrians on a March road.
Bill Bishop, 19, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving after a four-day trial at Peterborough Crown Court.
The trial heard that he was driving at an “inappropriate speed” when he hit Dominic Iliffe, 24, of Boadicea Court, Chatteris, and James Kiely, 27, of Drew Road, Silvertown, London, on Wimblington Road, in the early hours of December 11, 2011.
The crash happened just six months after the teenager had passed his driving test.
Bishop, of Station Road, Manea, was sentenced to two years jail for each of the two charges of causing death by careless driving, to run consecutively. He was also disqualified from driving for seven years.
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Judge Sean Enright said: “This is not just a case of a bad manoeuvre or an error of judgement; it’s a case of sustained bad driving, almost to the point of dangerous driving.”
He added: “These two young men died needlessly. I have seen the impact statements and they make very painful reading.
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“I do hope that when I pass sentence it will not be said; ‘is this the worth that society places on the lives of these two young men?’”
Nicola Devas, prosecuting, told the court that Bishop had a “cavalier attitude as far as his driving conduct is concerned”.
In 2010, he received six penalty points for driving a vehicle without insurance and with only a provisional licence.
In November 2011, he was given a warning for anti-social driving and, five days later, he was handed a further three penalty points for using a vehicle with defective tyres.
During Bishop’s trial last week, witnesses described how they had seen him driving carelessly in March town centre hours before the crash.
The court also heard that, 400m before the site of the collision, an oncoming driver had flashed his lights at Bishop to warn him that the two men were walking in the road.
“There was a prolonged course of poor driving,” said Mrs Devas. “He ignored the warning from an oncoming driver and there was inappropriate speed in respect of the limit and the weather conditions.”
Ravi Dogra, mitigating, said Bishop had co-operated fully with the police and admitted driving at between 65-70mph. There was no alcohol or drugs in his bloodstream.
“What sticks out to me is that Bill Bishop was unaware of the consequences or possible consequences of what he was doing,” said Mr Dogra.
Mr Dogra said Bishop regretted his actions and a letter to the court from the teenager’s mother claimed that he “wished he had died”.
“Mr Bishop finds it very difficult to express himself in particular to strangers,” said Mr Dogra.
“The pre-sentence report is not a glowing report as it does not underline or express the remorse that is plain and obvious in the testimonies from his family.
“He would like to apologise deeply to those in court. He knows there’s nothing he can do to change their lives.”
Sentencing Bishop, Judge Enright said CCTV footage from moments before the collision showed Bishop was speeding and swerving to avoid pedestrians.
He said: “These two young men were in the road and not on the pavement. To that extent they contributed to what took place but this is a rural area.
“It is not at all unusual to find obstructions in the road - a bike without lights, a tree, a deer or, in this case, two people coming home from a dance.
Judge Enright added: “This case is a reminder that you must drive at a speed so that you can stop if an obstruction appears in the roadway.”
Bishop will have to take an extended test before he is allowed to drive again.
Victims Dominic and James had been on a night out in March with Dominic’s close friends Alex and Will Salter. The pair, who were three times over the legal limit for driving, were heading into Wimblington to stay overnight with the Salter family.
Following their deaths a group of Dominic’s friends, including Alex and Will, organised a memorial party which raised £750. The money was given to Abigail Iliffe - Dominic’s sister and James’ girlfriend - for her baby.