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Hit-and-run driver jailed after crash that killed Market Drayton man

By David Briggs | Market Drayton | Crime | Published:

A driver was today jailed for speeding off at more than 100mph after a fatal collision that claimed the life of a Shropshire man.

Victim James Greenwood

Matthew Paul Leggett, 25, was sent to prison by a judge – who also locked up his friend, Finlay Lewis Davidson, for criminal conduct – after the crash that killed James Greenwood, from Market Drayton.

Leggett’s £15,000 BMW 1 series struck 61-year-old Mr Greenwood, a building and garden maintenance contractor also known as Jimmy, as he crossed an unlit stretch of road near Keswick in the Lake District while returning to a campsite just before 12.30am on April 7 last year.

Jailed: Matthew Leggett

Seriously injured Mr Greenwood died soon afterwards despite a friend attempting CPR as police and paramedics were called.

Parts of Leggett’s car number plate and BMW badge were left behind and his windscreen was shattered.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Leggett sped off without checking what had happened, leaving his details or calling 999. That left friends of Mr Greenwood with only phone lights to assess the tragic scene with “people screaming and panicking in the darkness”.

Despite extensive damage to his car, Leggett drove 12 miles in just 12 minutes along narrow rural roads to meet Davidson, whom he called while travelling to arrange collection at remote woodland. A police officer later asked to recreate that 12-minute journey hit a top speed of 104mph.

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Davidson, 24, was later found to have deleted all call data between himself and Leggett after 11pm that night from his mobile phone. Both had since shown genuine remorse, the court heard.

Electrician Leggett, from 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. He was jailed for 16 months and banned from driving for four years.

'Your only concern was for yourself'

Davidson, of Great Clifton, admitted doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice, and was jailed for 10 months.

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Mr Greenwood’s daughter Lisa Manning 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.

Coverage of the case:

“You were intent only on trying to put as much distance as possible between you and that accident.”

Judge Potter continued: “It is sheer good fortune that you weren’t involved in another collision on your reckless journey from Braithwaite to Setmurthy.”

And he added: “The driving was especially dangerous given the speeds you must have reached and the distance you covered in a car wholly compromised in its safety by almost total occlusion of vision.”

Judge Potter told Davidson: “Misguided loyalty can never be an excuse for setting out to pervert the course of justice.”

David Briggs

By David Briggs
@davebriggs_Star

Shropshire Star Content Manager

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