A speeding BMW driver who drove into a bus lane and hit and killed two young boys travelling by bicycle has pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.
Jack Hart, 32, previously denied the charges but pleaded guilty the day before he was due to go on trial, prompting judge John Thackray KC to accuse the motorist of having "played the system" and tell him to expect a "very significant sentence measured in years".
Hart removed his dashcam after the collision which killed 11-year-old Mason Deakin and friend Steven Duffield, 10, on 19 October 2020, Deakin passing two weeks later with his family at his bedside at Leeds General Infirmary, where he had remained in a coma and on life support.
Judge Thackray yesterday said Hart had "two years to get his affairs in order" but left his guilty plea "to the last possible minute". The admission finally came at Monday's plea hearing ahead of the trial which was due to start today, seven months after his not guilty pleas at a previous court appearance in June.
The BMW driver had been speeding at the time of the collision and drove into a bus lane, hitting the pair travelling by bike on a stretch of Anlaby Road near East Yorkshire bus garage at around 6.10pm.
Hart was represented for the latest hearing by Charlotte Baines and had previously insisted he was not responsible for the missing dashcam, resulting in the case being stood down while Hart provided further details.
However, Miss Baines later said that Hart now did not want to put in a basis of plea over his version of the dashcam's removal. She had asked the court to allow Hart bail until the day of sentencing so he could sort out his affairs, arguing he had always attended court dates.
In reply, judge Thackray said Hart would be remanded in custody and should expect a "very significant sentence measured in years" when he is sentenced on Wednesday.
"He has had two years to get his affairs in order. He has played the system and left it to the last possible minute. His plea has come over two years later than it should have done," the judge said.
Petition calling for lifetime ban for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving passes 10,000 signatures
Last week we shared news of a petition that has been launched calling for a lifetime driving ban for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
The petition has now passed the 10,000-mark meaning the government will respond to it once it closes on 4 April.
Despite dangerous driving costing the life of another road user often those convicted of such an offence are only banned for a relatively short period of time, sometimes as briefly as two years with an extended retest if they wish to drive again.
Earlier this month Lee Beevers, a banned driver who killed a cyclist in a hit-and-run crash and then torched the car he had been driving was disqualified from driving for five years and three months, just eight months longer than his four years and eight months jail sentence.
The petition was created by Angela Burke, the mother of a child killed by a driver speeding between 73 and 93mph when they hit her on a 30mph road, who believes "driving is a luxury and it should be taken away if convicted of this crime. I've lost my child forever."
"He was sentenced to nine years, minus 25 per cent reduction for pleading guilty, and also given a seven-year driving ban to start immediately. When he's released he will have four years ban left," she wrote.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.