A banned driver who killed a cyclist in a hit-and-run crash then torched the car he had been driving has been jailed for four years and eight months.
Lee Beevers was also disqualified from driving for five years and three months when he was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post.
The 27 year old, from Normanton, had previously pleaded guilty to charges of causing death by dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, failing to stop after road accident, failing to provide a specimen for analysis and using a vehicle whilst uninsured.
Beevers had been driving at 80mph – nearly three times the 30mph speed limit – on Wakefield Road, Normanton, on 13 April last year when he crashed into 33-year-old cyclist Alan Tankard, causing fatal injuries to his head, neck and chest.
The burnt-out Honda Civic Type-R car which he had borrowed from a friend for the evening was discovered close to the scene of the crash, and West Yorkshire Police arrested him the following day.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, told the court that the four passengers in the car with Beevers, one of them in tears, had urged him to slow down before the fatal crash – after which, the driver told them to “shut the f*ck up” and drove away from the scene at speed.
One of the vehicle occupants subsequently said that Beevers “did not seem to care” about what had happened, although none of them alerted police or the ambulance service to the crash, and they were subsequently urged by the driver to help him set fire to the car.
Mr Smith also said that while he was in detention in a psychiatric hospital last month, Beevers – who when interviewed by police the following day was uncommunicative, other than making obscene gestures – said in a Facebook post, “F*ck West Yorkshire Police.”
The court heard that Beevers had ten prior convictions for 20 offences, and that he had appeared in court six weeks before the fatal crash for driving without a licence.
In mitigation, Alex Menary said that Beevers had been diagnosed with ADHD, had a troubled childhood, and in 2013 suffered a brain injury that made him act impulsively without considering the consequences of what he was doing.
The defence counsel also read out a letter written by Beevers, in which he wrote: “I know what I did was wrong. I’m truly sorry for the family. I can’t change the past but I want to move forward and be a better person.”
Sentencing Beevers, Judge Ray Singh said that Beevers had failed to show remorse, noting that he had been “shaking his head in disagreement” during the hearing.
Referring to the social media post, the judge said: “Posting that on Facebook while being cared for in hospital is despicable and distasteful. It’s not impulsive behaviour. You are in essence showing disdain for the police force that brought you to justice.
“Despite your best efforts in destroying evidence [by setting fire to the vehicle], they were rational decisions to avoid being caught. It’s calculated behaviour, not impulsive.
“To save your own skin you drove away leaving Mr Tankard. You did not care at all,” the judge added.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Mr Tankard’s family said: “He left Alan in the road, dead or dying, whilst he covered his tracks in an attempt to destroy evidence of his crime.
“He will never know the pain and suffering he has caused. How he left the scene of the crash and showed such little regard for another human’s life shows the type of person he is. He has taken Alan away from us and things will never be the same again.”
Detective Constable Simon Marshall of South Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Enquiry Team said: “Beevers’ driving, speed and behaviour on that day was beyond comprehension.
“Despite being previously banned from driving and having no licence or insurance, he got behind the wheel of that car without regard for any other person.
“This tragic incident was completely avoidable and due to the dangerous and reckless actions of Beevers, Alan is sadly no longer here.
“My thoughts at this time remain with Alan’s family,” DC Marshall continued.
“Nothing can ever bring him back to them, but I hope that the sentence passed today will help them as they continue to process their loss.”
He added: “I would also like to say thank you to the members of the public who came forward and supported the police with their investigation.”
The sentencing of Beevers coincides with ITV News highlighting a petition calling for lifetime bans for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving – although, of course, in this case he was driving the vehicle despite already being disqualified.
The petition, hosted on the UK Parliament’s website, was started by Angela Burke, whose 14-year-old daughter Courtney Ellis was killed in 2020 by speeding driver Brandon Turton.
The 21-year-old driver was subsequently jailed for six years and nine months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, and banned from driving for seven years.
In the petition, Ms Bourke wrote:
I would like to change the law on ‘if you are convicted for causing death by dangerous driving then a lifetime driving ban should be imposed’, they should never be allowed to drive again.
My child was killed by a speeding driver, Who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. My child suffered horrific instant death injuries, the driver was driving at speeds of 73-93mph when he hit her on a 30mph road, he was sentenced to 9 years minus 25% reduction for going guilty also given a 7 year driving ban to start immediately, when he’s released he will have 4 years ban left. Driving is a luxury and it should be taken away if convicted of this crime. I've lost my child forever.
At the time of writing the petition, which remains open until 4 April, has attracted more than 5,200 signatures.
Should it reach 10,000 signatures, the government will be required to provide a response, and in the event it gathers 100,000 signatures, the issue will be considered for a House of Commons debate by the Backbench Business Committee.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.