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"Cowardly" hit-and-run driver who killed teen cyclist jailed again after leading police on 100mph chase following release

Leo Meek was jailed for 40 months in 2021 for causing the death of Jack Jones, 15, by dangerous driving, and has been sentenced to 22 months in prison and a four-year driving ban for his latest offences

A "cowardly and callous" hit-and-run driver who killed a 15-year-old cyclist in 2021 and was sentenced to three years and four months in prison and a three-year driving ban has been jailed again for 22 months following his release having led police on a 100mph pursuit through 40mph zones in a stolen vehicle.

Leo Meek appeared in Chester Crown Court this week, having pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and handling stolen goods, the judge sentencing him to one year and 10 months in prison and a 47-month driving ban.

The 25-year-old was, in 2021, sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to causing the death by dangerous driving of cyclist Jack Jones, Meek driving at speeds of between 52 and 55mph in a 30mph zone when he hit the teenager who was cycling to his aunt's house.

Meek fled the scene, getting a taxi home, prosecutor Peter Hussey telling Liverpool Crown Court three years ago that "it is unlikely Jack knew what happened" due to the severity of the collision and at "no stage did he [Meek] report the collision to the police or even the ambulance service".

Having served time for causing the teenager's death, Meek will return to custody for his latest offences, an officer in an unmarked police vehicle spotting him driving a stolen vehicle on 19 July 2023. A chase ensued when Meek made a sudden turn and accelerated away, refusing to stop.

Cheshire Police released a video of the pursuit and reported the dangerous driver overtook multiple vehicles, tailgating them to force them to pull over, and picked up speeds of more than 100mph along winding narrow roads, more than double the 40mph speed limit.

Meek crashed the vehicle into a bridge above the M53 and fled the scene on foot. He was confirmed as the driver thanks to DNA recovered from the steering wheel airbag and subsequently arrested. Officers discovered three sets of registration plates in the boot of the car and it was confirmed the heavily damaged BMW had been stolen from the Manchester area a week earlier.

Leo Meek jailed for driving offence (Cheshire Police)
Leo Meek jailed for driving offence (Cheshire Police)

It was from the incident that killed Jack that Meek's DNA was already registered on the Police National Computer System, PC Cooling from Cheshire Police saying he "clearly had not learnt" from his previous conviction.

"Despite already causing the death of an innocent teenager through reckless driving and speeding, Meek clearly had not learnt from this tragic incident," they said. "It is a miracle that no other collisions occurred as a result of Meek's driving on 19 July. He put innocent members of the public at risk, reaching alarming speeds in excess of 100mph and eventually losing control of the stolen vehicle.

"Thankfully the bridge barrier prevented the vehicle from falling onto the motorway below, but the damage to the car and the barrier shows just how dangerous Meek's driving was. Even after the collision, Meek continued to try and evade police by fleeing the scene, showing no regard for the safety of his passenger. Just as he fled the scene after hitting the young cyclist in 2021, he again failed to stop and was only concerned with getting away.

Leo Meek jailed for driving offence (Cheshire Police)

"However, his efforts were to no avail. Thanks to DNA left on the airbag, officers from the Roads and Crime unit along with crime scene investigators confirmed Meek had been driving, tracked him down, and he is now behind bars for his actions. This highlights that there really is nowhere to hide – we will use every resource available to us to hold people to account. I hope this also serves as a reminder to those who commit crimes on Cheshire's roads that you will be caught."

Back in 2021, ahead of his sentencing for the death of the 15-year-old cyclist, Meek wrote a letter to the judge saying he took "full responsibility" for what had happened and that he "found it hard to come to terms with the harsh reality that Jack lost his life solely through my actions".

Sentencing Meek for the causing death by dangerous driving offence, Judge Andrew Menary QC called the driver "cowardly and callous" and said the "most likely explanation" for the collision was that he had given the cyclist "little or no room as you were overtaking him".

"A private hire vehicle just passed Jack, rather than pause to allow it to pass you attempted to squeeze through the gap," the judge said. "This was very bad driving in any view and Jack and his family have paid a terrible price."

Following her son's death, Jack's mother, Marjorie said he "had his whole life ahead of him" but "all our hopes and aspirations for Jack have just gone".

"A nightmare you cannot wake up from and know you will have for a lifetime… no words will ever be enough to express how much this hurts and what a huge loss we all have to come to terms with," she said.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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69 comments

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hawkinspeter replied to LeadenSkies | 1 month ago
5 likes

LeadenSkies wrote:

I am all for stronger sentencing of those that kill or seriously injure through dangerous driving, I am not sure a life ban from driving is going to be effective for idiots like this. Given he chose to drive a stolen car full of stolen goods, I am thinking he wouldn't have worried about not having a licence.

All the more reason to stop him having a license so that anytime the police spot him in a car, they have cause to stop and arrest him.

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LeadenSkies replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
2 likes

Is it effective though? They should already be stopping stolen vehicles / uninsured drivers / no MoT etc and they are far easier to spot than the identity of the driver in a moving vehicle. My thoughts, for the little they are worth, are that we need to introduce a more effective deterrent. Longer and more consistent sentencing. He killed a child, how did he get to even be out again less than 5 years later to commit the second offence? Taking a life by dangerous driving should have a mandatory life sentence just the same as murder.

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hawkinspeter replied to LeadenSkies | 1 month ago
2 likes

LeadenSkies wrote:

Is it effective though? They should already be stopping stolen vehicles / uninsured drivers / no MoT etc and they are far easier to spot than the identity of the driver in a moving vehicle. My thoughts, for the little they are worth, are that we need to introduce a more effective deterrent. Longer and more consistent sentencing. He killed a child, how did he get to even be out again less than 5 years later to commit the second offence? Taking a life by dangerous driving should have a mandatory life sentence just the same as murder.

Just because some parts of a system are ineffective is a poor excuse for not doing the bits that we can do though.

If we take the attitude of "there's no point banning him from driving" and allow him to keep his license, then that one less reason to put him behind bars in the future when he's caught again.

It's like saying that we shouldn't have speed limits on roads as most drivers will ignore them.

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LeadenSkies replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
3 likes

You are right, it is a poor excuse but I am fed up with dealing with the devastation caused by dangerous driving. Watching innocent people die a horrible death in front of me, as I have done again recently because some idiot thought he was Nigel Mansell on a public road, and being powerless to do anything about it takes a mental toll and promotes production of my "hang em high" hormones.

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chrisonabike replied to LeadenSkies | 1 month ago
0 likes

Hmm... this is one for a thoughtful approach here so we don't get into the same territory here as the "dangerous cycling" offenses.

As I understand it there are several components to "justice" - among which deterrence, desert and public protection from the offender (under which consideration of reform).

Increasing the punishments does not deterrence make - because:
a) we all know you need to be caught, brought to court and actually convicted first.  In the case of road offenses and specifically for driving  each of those steps has an issue.  You're unlikely to get caught for many offenses; evidence can sometimes be an issue; CPS tend to go for lower charges, because juries seem to have a bias to accept "accident" or "there was nothing I could do" or even "yes, it's wrong but we all know the law and how we all drive aren't the same thing".
b) some offenses aren't necessarily attended by a lot of forethought
c) some criminals may be prone just to take chances when it comes to driving (especially because (a) )

In terms of "desert" e.g. "got what they deserve" the outcomes tend to weigh heavily on people.  e.g. "Killing someone on a bike is no different than doing so in a car".  Yes, people should also be considering the decisions e.g. choosing to drive recklessly is arguably more dangerous than choosing to cycle dangerously.  But again I think there are biases so the "normal" activity (driving) isn't seen as aggravating and the "unusual" one (cycling) may be.

Incarcerating someone should cover "protecting the public" but if we ever let people out again it's pertinent to consider the rate of reoffending (though that's a whole other can of worms).

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LeadenSkies replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
2 likes

I take your points on board. Motor normativity definitely influences jury decisions and by extension CPS charging decisions and addressing the definition of dangerous driving to be a much more objective definition would be a good starting point. It would also make enforcement simpler and more clear cut.

I also agree that the deterrence factor of any punishment is hard to measure and even harder to get right. Long prison sentences may just make me feel better without deterring and make me no safer in reality. They may even backfire by making people more likely to risk all to avoid capture.

Banning someone from driving for life seems a good thing but only if people are going to stick to it. Given most people who are banned have already significantly and often repeatedly ignored one or more driving laws, are they going to obey a ban? Does banning them aid enforcement? Where do we go if they don't obey the ban? And most importantly to me, what do we say to the mother of the next child killed by a banned driver? I have seen the devastation caused by dangerous driving first hand on too many occasions. I think it will eventually be the thing that draws the curtain on my career as each time it takes more of a toll and a big part of that is because I feel powerless and society refuses to take the problem of road deaths seriously.

I don't have the answer, but I do know we aren't getting it right at the moment.

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mctrials23 replied to a1white | 1 month ago
1 like

This sort of scumbag won't care if he is banned.

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morgoth985 replied to mctrials23 | 1 month ago
3 likes

You may be right but to make policy on this basis is a counsel of despair.  There is no reason why this person should be allowed to drive a motor vehicle again.  So therefore don't allow it.  If he then flouts that ban, punish him for that.  It doesn't mean we just say "oh well, he won't comply, so sod it."

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ErnieC replied to a1white | 1 month ago
0 likes

a1white wrote:

We need to start bringing in lifetime driving bans. Absolutely no reason why this low life should be drving a car on on our roads again

A lifetime driving ban will not stop garbage like this. Having already shown a complete disregard for the law, a ban will not stop him. He needs to be put down before he kills someone else. 

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