Jailed: Man killed cyclist, drove off then hid van and lied to police

A "cowardly" unlicensed driver who ran over and killed a cyclist before fleeing the scene and hiding his van has been locked up for 22 months.

The crash happened on the B5476 in north Shropshire. Photo: Google
The crash happened on the B5476 in north Shropshire. Photo: Google

Aaron Rogers, 23 and from Whitchurch, killed 56-year-old local garage owner Ian Edwards when he ran over the stricken cyclist in the middle of the B5476 road at Coton, late on the evening of July 31, 2020.

Sentencing Rogers, Mr Recorder Thomas Moran said the tragedy had been the result of a terrible coincidence.

Mr Edwards had been drinking at the Bull & Dog in Whitchurch with people he had met that evening.

A couple he had met, Joanne Kemp and Robert Thorp, had left the pub on bicycles at around 11.30pm, followed shortly after by Mr Edwards, who caught up with the couple on the road.

Prosecutor Paul Spratt said that the details were not clear but it appeared Mr Edwards had hit the rear wheel of Ms Kemp's bike, causing her to crash towards the verge and him to fall into the carriageway.

Mr Edwards, driving a Vauxhall Astra van, then ran over Mr Edwards, causing injuries which resulted in his death at the scene – despite the valiant attempts of those present to save him.

Recorder Moran said Rogers had driven off, hidden his vehicle for several days and denied he had been the driver after being arrested when police examined CCTV which led them to the 23-year-old.

The court was told that Rodgers said he thought he had "hit a badger", although he had told a friend shortly after the crash that he had run over a man.

Recorder Moran also said that he had been driving the route to avoid detection by police, and that he had been using a mobile phone – on speaker in his lap – some time before he hit Mr Edwards.

The court was told there was no braking before he hit Mr Edwards, only an attempt to swerve and lift off the accelerator.

Mitigating, Paul Smith, for Rogers said: "He says if he could turn the clock back he would do it in a heartbeat."

He added: "The deceased was not unknown to him, or the family, and he wants to say through me that he cannot imagine the pain they are feeling as a family."

"He has not stopped thinking about what happened since."

Addressing Rogers, Recorder Moran said: "For whatever reason Mr Edwards did not have lights on his bike or reflective clothing and when he left the pub at 11.30pm he was travelling on a fairly poorly lit road. As he was cycling home a series of extremely unfortunate and tragic events unfolded.

"He had a collision with another cyclist who had been in the Bull with him. It caused him to fall off and he was lying prone in the road.

"In a terrible coincidence you were also on this road."

He added: "You told a friend because you knew it to be quiet and you were less likely to come into contact with the police, knowing you should not have been on the road at all.

"You car drove into and over Mr Edwards while he was on the floor. He died at the scene.

"Every effort was made to save him by a number of people, including obtaining a defibrillator. When I say every effort I mean by a number of people, your actions were in sharp contrast to those who tried to save him.

"You simply drove off. That was a despicable and cowardly thing to do."

Rogers, of Smallbrook Road, Whitchurch, was sentenced to a total of 22 months in prison after admitting admitting causing death by driving while uninsured and without a licence, and a section 51 offence of failing to stop.

This was made up of six months each on the charges of driving while uninsured and without a licence, both of which will run concurrently, four months for failing to stop to run concurrently, and also 16 months to run consecutively for the breach of a 21-month suspended sentence order.

He was also disqualified from driving for two years and 11 months.

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