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Driver who drank bottle of vodka and took cocaine, MDMA, and cannabis before killing cyclist and fleeing scene jailed for six years and nine months

After killing a 54-year-old cyclist as he sped through a red light, Sam Hughes initially tried to deceive the police by providing a false name, before eventually pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving

A motorist who drank a bottle of vodka, as well as taking cocaine, ecstasy, and cannabis at a party, before striking and killing a cyclist and fleeing the scene – and later lying to police officers about his identity, showing no remorse for his actions – has been sentenced to six years and nine months in prison, and banned from driving for a further two years.

A 54-year-old cyclist Lee Raynor was cycling in Horwich, Bolton at around 5am on Thursday 5 May 2022 when he was struck by what eyewitnesses described as a “speeding” motorist at the junction of Chorley New Road and Beaumont Road.

Bolton Crown Court heard this week that 32-year-old Sam Hughes drove through a red light before hitting Mr Raynor, who prosecutor David Lees said was wearing a high visibility jacket when he was struck by the motorist.

“Mr Hughes continued driving down Chorley New Road, didn’t stop, although the crown say that the crash must have been obvious to him,” Lees told the court. The prosecutor added that a taxi driver who witnessed the collision described Hughes as “driving at high speed, although of course he wasn’t able to give an accurate estimate”.

As Hughes fled the scene, two members of the public attempted to help Mr Raynor, who was taken by paramedics to hospital, where he died from his injuries that morning.

> “Arrogant” speeding driver with drugs and alcohol in his system avoids jail for killing cyclist, as prosecutor says incident was “just below” dangerous driving threshold

Officers were able to track Hughes down due to the force of the collision’s impact causing his car’s front registration plate to break off and become embedded in the victim’s bike frame. However, when they arrived at his home, Hughes attempted to deceive officers by claiming his name was Thomas.

After officers noted signs of intoxication, including dilated pupils and injuries to his right hand, Hughes was taken into custody, where subsequent blood tests revealed that he had exceeded the legal limits for various substances, including alcohol, cannabis, MDMA (also known as ecstasy), and cocaine.

During the police’s investigation, it was found that Hughes had attended a party near the site of the collision. CCTV footage captured him purchasing a bottle of vodka at a nearby petrol station, which he consumed at the party before leaving at around 4.30am, telling his friends that he was “going for a drive in the countryside”.

> Parent of child hit by drug driver calls for greater police powers to stop offenders

Despite answering no comment to every question and appearing to show no remorse for his actions during his initial interview at Bolton Police Station, Hughes later pleaded guilty in November to four counts of causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit.

Rachel White, defending, said that Hughes had earned credit for having the “courage and good sense” to plead guilty, and that it “has saved an awful lot of heartache and delay and resources”. She added that the motorist “wishes to be punished, he feels extremely guilty for what he has done”.

Ms White told the court that Hughes accepted that he had consumed alcohol, as well as taking cannabis and cocaine at the party, but did not understand how MDMA had got into his system, while also pointing to his previous lack of convictions and “positive good character”.

“He is somebody who has had a gross error of judgement and will live with that for the rest of his life,” she said, adding that many people knew the motorist as a “lovely young man and a pleasure to know”.

> Drug driver who killed two charity cyclists jailed for 70 years – despite insisting head-on crash was “a horrific accident”

Despite reminding Hughes of the “devastation he had wrought” on the family of Mr Raynor – who she described as a “hardworking man who was deeply valued by his friends and family” – Judge Abigail Hudson nevertheless noted that she accepted that the junction where the fatal collision took place, which features a green light filter, was “confusing”.

The judge also described Hughes’ attempt to flee the scene and later lie about his identity as “cowardly and callous”, but accepted it “was the product of panic, rather than anything more sinister”.

“I fully accept that you are devastated by the suffering of Mr Raynor’s family and that you would turn back the clock if you could,” she added.

Hudson sentenced Hughes to six years and nine months in prison, and banned him from driving for two years, beginning from his release from prison.

> Drug driver sentenced to 21 months in prison for killing cyclist – seconds after using his phone to text friend

Reading a statement from Mr Raynor’s father, Mr Lees detailed how the cyclist’s family had been “completely destroyed and devastated beyond belief”.

“Lee was loved by everyone, all his friends at the social club, the local social club, and all his friends he watched football with,” he said.

In a statement issued following the sentencing, Sergeant Andrew Page of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Of course our thoughts are with the victim’s family and loved ones at this difficult and saddening time. While we understand that no sentence can fully ease their pain or bring their loved one back, we hope that today's sentence provides some form of comfort.

“Hughes’ actions that evening was appalling and sickening. He knowingly and willingly chose to drive his car that evening whilst intoxicated on drugs and alcohol.

“He showed absolutely no regard for the law or other road users that day. Sadly, an innocent member of the community was caught in the crossfire of his actions and now we have lost a life to reckless driving.

“I would urge the public, to please think before you drive. Think not only of yourself, but your family, your friends, your loved ones and most importantly think about other people who you could hurt, who’s lives you could change if you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Do not be complacent, do not drive if you have taken anything or drank alcohol. Leave plenty of time before you drive, because it might just cost you your life in prison or your life completely.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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39 comments

Avatar
open_roads | 6 months ago
4 likes

The 6 year sentence is missing a 1 or a 2 in front of it.

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Annaanna | 6 months ago
5 likes

6 years?!

"I made a stupid decision to start cleaning my shot gun when I was high. I didn't mean to shoot her in head, I just wasn't paying attention. Then I left her to die".

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Blackthorne | 6 months ago
4 likes

"Officers were able to track Hughes down due to the force of the collision’s impact causing his car’s front registration plate to break off and become embedded in the victim’s bike frame. "

Police had evidence literally handed to them on a plate. 
condolences to the victim's loved ones.  

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mattw | 6 months ago
5 likes

Here is the "confusing" junction.

What is confusing about it? Normal traffic light controlled junction. (Link does work)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Beaumont+Rd+%26+Chorley+New+Rd,+Lostoc...@53.5791707,-2.4911219,17z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x487b082b174f23b7:0x1bfbf465dfab7ad1!8m2!3d53.5793618!4d-2.4885202!16s%2Fg%2F11hb2w2n7h?entry=ttu

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hawkinspeter replied to mattw | 6 months ago
13 likes

mattw wrote:

Here is the "confusing" junction.

What is confusing about it? Normal traffic light controlled junction. (Link does work)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Beaumont+Rd+%26+Chorley+New+Rd,+Lostoc...@53.5791707,-2.4911219,17z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x487b082b174f23b7:0x1bfbf465dfab7ad1!8m2!3d53.5793618!4d-2.4885202!16s%2Fg%2F11hb2w2n7h?entry=ttu

Surely a "confusing" junction shouldn't be used as a mitigation as you should reduce speed if you have any doubts about how to navigate it. Speeding through a "confusing" junction should increase the sentence as it's evidence of dangerous driving.

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
10 likes

Surely a "confusing" junction shouldn't be used as a mitigation as you should reduce speed if you have any doubts about how to navigate it

This 'auto-mitigation' thinking is prevalent in at least some police forces: in December 2018 a driver hit me when I was fully lit up, stationary and correctly positioned to leave Sainsbury's. He came down the wrong side of the road to 'cut the corner'. The police dreamed up 'it was dark and raining' as mitigation, and finished off justifying No Further Action with 'it was only a momentary loss of concentration'. This near death/ maiming experience (it was luck that he only hit me with the side mirror, rather than striking my front wheel and ramming the frame back into my pelvis as I stood astride it) forced the acquisition of the GoPro and the ensuing, unresolved war with Lancashire Constabulary 

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
7 likes

wtjs wrote:

Surely a "confusing" junction shouldn't be used as a mitigation as you should reduce speed if you have any doubts about how to navigate it

This 'auto-mitigation' thinking is prevalent in at least some police forces: in December 2018 a driver hit me when I was fully lit up, stationary and correctly positioned to leave Sainsbury's. He came down the wrong side of the road to 'cut the corner'. The police dreamed up 'it was dark and raining' as mitigation, and finished off justifying No Further Action with 'it was only a momentary loss of concentration'. This near death/ maiming experince (it was luck that he only hit me with the side mirror, rather than striking my front wheel and ramming the frame back into my pelvis as I stood astride it) forced the acquisition of the GoPro and the ensuing, unresoved war with Lancashire Constabulary 

Yeah, it's kafkaesque that they think it's some kind of excuse. When it's dark and raining, the expectation should be that drivers go slower and more carefully - cutting corners is totally the wrong way to deal with challenging conditions.

When I become ruler of the world, I'd send that motorist and those police for retraining.

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
6 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

mattw wrote:

Here is the "confusing" junction.

What is confusing about it? Normal traffic light controlled junction. (Link does work)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Beaumont+Rd+%26+Chorley+New+Rd,+Lostoc...@53.5791707,-2.4911219,17z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x487b082b174f23b7:0x1bfbf465dfab7ad1!8m2!3d53.5793618!4d-2.4885202!16s%2Fg%2F11hb2w2n7h?entry=ttu

Surely a "confusing" junction shouldn't be used as a mitigation as you should reduce speed if you have any doubts about how to navigate it. Speeding through a "confusing" junction should increase the sentence as it's evidence of dangerous driving.

"Reduce speed"??!  Are you quite mad, sir? 

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HoarseMann replied to mattw | 6 months ago
3 likes

There must be an issue with this junction, as they've seen fit to put a sign up that says 'prepare for second signal'. It would be better if these lights could be synchronised, so that you don't get the situation where the first set are green and the second set are red.

No excuse for this driver though, the speed and intoxication override any slight argument that the road layout could be any sort of mitigation.

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wtjs | 6 months ago
7 likes

will live with that for the rest of his life

Yet another outing for this 'killer as victim' dodge

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mctrials23 replied to wtjs | 6 months ago
8 likes

I think we can all agree that the real victims of murder are the murderers that have to live with their crimes. Those lucky victims that are no longer around to suffer are clearly the real winners. 

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peted76 | 6 months ago
11 likes

This just gets on my tits. 

I get that prison is right.. six years seems low for taking someones life but it's a lot more than other convictions in the past so maybe it's okay.. but the two year ban is just demonstrative and a slap in the face to the victims. 

Avatar
HoarseMann | 6 months ago
12 likes

There must have been an element of plea bargaining here for the charge to be lowered to death by careless driving. However, you would have thought a conviction for death by dangerous driving would have been possible given the level of intoxication from various substances.

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hawkinspeter replied to HoarseMann | 6 months ago
10 likes

HoarseMann wrote:

There must have been an element of plea bargaining here for the charge to be lowered to death by careless driving. However, you would have thought a conviction for death by dangerous driving would have been possible given the level of intoxication from various substances.

It's beyond belief how even just speeding through a red light isn't itself grounds for a dangerous driving conviction. We might as well get rid of the dangerous driving law if it's impossible to convict killer drivers with it.

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peted76 replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
8 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

It's beyond belief how even just speeding through a red light isn't itself grounds for a dangerous driving conviction. We might as well get rid of the dangerous driving law if it's impossible to convict killer drivers with it.

It's a good point, I can't think of many/any of these instances where convictions are based on 'dangerous driving'.. It could be the basis of a forum topic.. 'This isn't 'dangerous driving'.. apparently' thread.

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peted76 replied to peted76 | 6 months ago
5 likes

Done. It's reprehensible how the definition is so crystal clear and yet we see so few convictions. 

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Clem Fandango replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
2 likes

.....but but "two through on a red" - that's accepted practice, everyone knows that.

(but it's obviously less worthy of clickbait MSM coverage than "bloody cyclists" RLJing).

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Wingguy | 6 months ago
14 likes

The judge also described Hughes’ attempt to flee the scene and later lie about his identity as “cowardly and callous”, but accepted it “was the product of panic, rather than anything more sinister”.

“I fully accept that you are devastated by the suffering of Mr Raynor’s family and that you would turn back the clock if you could,” she added.

Is it some product of the UK legal system that creates a duty for Judges to keep saying these things, or is it completely up to them? Genuine question for anyone who knows because I have no insight into the inner workings of the legal system.

But it ties in a lot with accounts of people like rape victims complaining that at all points through a trial the accused has far more rights to avoid being traumatised by the system than the victim does. In this case I just imagine being a family member of the deceased sitting in court and having to listen to such obvious nonsense being spewed by the ultimate representative of the State about the person who callously killed their loved one and shamelessley tried everything they could to get away with it. I get that the defense has a duty to paint the offender in the best possible light, but does the judge really have to play along and make it 'official'?

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hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
14 likes

Come on, a two year ban? This is a clear example of someone who should never be in control of a car ever again. Killing someone and leaving the scene and attempting to evade justice by lying is exactly the kind of person that is not suitable to hold a driving license. If he'd used a gun to do his killing, then would he be allowed to ever hold a gun license?

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essexian | 6 months ago
8 likes

I saw a well known comedian from Bolton last weekend and nothing he said during the gig was as funny as a two year driving ban.

Totally and utter JOKE.

And whilst I am at it....why do we allow vodak and the likes to be sold in petrol stations? MADNESS.

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EK Spinner replied to essexian | 6 months ago
1 like

Selling Alcohol at filling stations always seems strange to me, but in this respect we have gone full circle as many filling stations have become the local corner shop, convienance shops that also sell fuel. A bit like the advent of the motor vehicle where many village shops had a pump outside them. I was very surprised when I was in a motorway services earlier this week (Gretna) where the shop (Waitrose ?) was also an off licence.

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Tom_77 replied to EK Spinner | 6 months ago
0 likes

There's a petrol station near me with a pizza vending machine and a 24/7 laundrette.

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Rendel Harris replied to EK Spinner | 6 months ago
0 likes

EK Spinner wrote:

 I was very surprised when I was in a motorway services earlier this week (Gretna) where the shop (Waitrose ?) was also an off licence.

I very much doubt there's a motorway service station in the country now where you can't buy alcohol.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

I very much doubt there's a motorway service station in the country now where you can't buy alcohol.

I might have to look in to this. I know people were up in arms when weatherspoomns opened at Beaconsfield services, as if you couldn't find a pub within one mile of most motorway junctions anyway.

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brooksby replied to EK Spinner | 6 months ago
1 like

EK Spinner wrote:

I was very surprised when I was in a motorway services earlier this week (Gretna) where the shop (Waitrose?) was also an off licence.

Was that so people can celebrate their elopement?

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mattw replied to EK Spinner | 6 months ago
6 likes

Selling alcohol at motorway services was banned by the Blair Govt in 2008, and reinstated by Cameron in 2013.

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open_roads replied to mattw | 6 months ago
2 likes

The last thing I saw from the police was that in serious / fatal crashes the drivers were significantly over the limit - 2 to 6 times. It also stated in the article that a study of reaction times suggested that people slightly above / below the limit reduced their speed to compensate. So in the main it's *very* drunk drivers that are the issue - and they won't be buying booze on the motorway - it will already be in their system.

I'm not sure the availability of alchohol at motorway services is very relevant:

- firstly because the accident rate on motorways per million miles is hugely lower than A and B roads

- secondly because it's on the As and Bs where most accidents occur and on which most alchohol is sold (supermarkets, corner shops etc).

The real issue as recognised by the police is that the number of drug drivers now is likely to be significantly higher than drunk drivers.

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Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
36 likes

If I'd been asked to write a grossly exaggerated story satirically to point up just how shit the justice system is when it comes to those who kill cyclists with cars it would look something very like this, from the joke sentence to the even bigger joke driving ban to the defence lawyer (edited) praising the killer's "courage and good sense", telling us he's "a lovely young man" and who feels "extremely guilty" to the judge accepting that the junction where he killed someone was "confusing" because it had a green light filter (most things are quite confusing after a bottle of vodka and a bucketful of illegal drugs, your honour), saying his fleeing the scene and giving a false name to police was nothing sinister and "fully accepting" that the killer feels bad about what he's done. I'd love to say it was simply unbelievable but of course it's all too believable.

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HollisJ replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
15 likes

I know lawyers have to legally represent a the client with their best wishes in mind, but i don't know if i could sleep at night if I was in their shoes. I can imagine how offensive that must of been to the family of the deceased.

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TheBillder replied to HollisJ | 6 months ago
2 likes
HollisJ wrote:

I know lawyers have to legally represent a the client with their best wishes in mind, but i don't know if i could sleep at night if I was in their shoes. I can imagine how offensive that must of been to the family of the deceased.

But the lawyer can only speak the truth, which seems at odds with conduct here. I can imagine a prosecution rebuttal of this, with witnesses saying that the defendant is a nasty coward whose only regret is getting caught.

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