Shropshire Star

'Maniac' motorist jailed for dangerous driving before fatal crash with Shrewsbury motorcyclist

A “maniac” motorist cleared by a jury of causing the death of a motorcyclist has been jailed for what a judge described as a “bad case of dangerous driving.”

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David Pugh

Judge Rhys Rowlands said had David Pugh been held responsible for the death of 46-year-old Stephen Elsdon, from Shrewsbury, his one-year prison sentence would have been in “double figures.”

The 32-year-old was locked up for a year at Mold Crown Court on Wednesday after being convicted of dangerous driving and admitting drug driving with the metabolite of cocaine, and having no insurance.

Mr Elsdon died on the A470 at Dolwen, near Llanidloes, on August 6, 2022.

During the trial last year, jurors heard how he and his girlfriend, both on motorbikes, were travelling to a hotel in Pembrokeshire. Prosecutor Sion ap Mihangel said just outside Newtown they came across slower-moving traffic and Lauren Prall told her partner to go ahead and she would catch up.

“It was the last time she saw him,” the barrister said. Miss Prall came across the aftermath of the smash and was told to take a detour.

Mr ap Mihangel said Miss Prall rode on to Aberystwyth and learned what had happened.

The tragedy occurred when a BMW car came across a van which was turning left, the jury heard. Mr Pugh, who was represented by barrister Dafydd Roberts, had braked but the bike collided with the back of the car.

“You were carrying out highly dangerous manoeuvres. The speed was highly inappropriate for the road conditions that day.”

A witness had also described the defendant driving earlier “like a maniac", while prosecuting barrister Matthew Dunford said the dangerous driving was "prolonged and persistent".

Dafydd Roberts, defending, said Pugh was “genuinely remorseful” and suffered from depression. Those who knew him described a “very kind, caring and helpful” man.

Despite being cleared of causing death by dangerous driving, Judge Rowlands told Pugh, a plumber, of Victoria Avenue, Llanidloes: "Your aggressive driving was contributed to an extent by the cocaine you had taken at some point in the previous 24 hours or so.

Judge Rowlands said the defendant had been driving a courtesy car provided for his mother in an “extremely aggressive” manner. He’d managed to stop when a van was turning left but the motorbike collided with the rear of the car.

The judge said the loss of life couldn’t be reflected in the sentence.

Pugh had insisted he wasn’t racing, something the prosecution had accused him of, but there was evidence of him earlier ignoring double white lines and causing others to take avoiding action, Judge Rowlands remarked.

His driving had been “grossly irresponsible, with risks deliberately taken.”

A three-and-a-half year ban was imposed with an extended test.

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