Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Three years and four months in jail for driver who killed teen cyclist then set fire to his car

Steven Mills left 14 year old to die in the road as he set fire to his car to hide the evidence

A driver who knocked a 14-year-old boy off his bike and then left him for dead has been jailed for three years and four months.

Jack Archer was riding his bike in Bingham, Nottinghamshire, at around 10pm on Monday 25 July 2016, when he was overtaken by Steven Mills in his car.

Mills hit Jack, but fled the scene and set fire to his car to destroy the evidence.

Mills, 29, from East Bridgford, then handed himself into Carlton Police Station around three-and-a-half hours later.

He had fatally wounded Jack, who died at the scene.

At Nottingham Crown Court, Mills was sentenced to 22 months for causing death by careless driving and 18 months for an act intending to pervert the course of justice which are to be served consecutively. He was also banned from driving for four years and six months.

Detective Sergeant Adam Cooper, Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "This case highlights the need for motorists to give cyclists a suitable amount of space when overtaking.

“Steven Mills allowed hardly any room and then left Jack fatally injured in the verge of the road.

“The fact that he didn't stop to check on him and then destroyed the evidence is absolutely unforgiveable and has left his family distraught.

"I would like to thank Jack's family for their bravery and patience in what has been a long wait for the conclusion of the investigation.

"I would like to thank all of the officers involved for their tireless work, from those who first attended through to the Collision Investigation Team. They had a particularly difficult job considering the circumstances but managed to bring the case through to prosecution."

Jack’s family released a statement, saying: "Our beloved Jack was a handsome, vibrant and enthusiastic young man with an enviable passion for life. He had a promising future ahead of him with the constant loving support of his adoring family.

"Jack’s magnetic personality shone wherever he went along with his engaging sense of humour. The world has lost a bright star of the future and as a family we will never recover from losing our irreplaceable, incomparable, incredible Jack. To consider the future without him is simply unbearable for us all.

"Jack was a free spirit always true to himself, never frightened of standing up for others or for what he believed in.

"For his life to be cut short in such a brutal way is a huge injustice to him and no sentence will ever compensate for that. He had so much ahead of him which has now been lost because of a senseless act of carelessness and lack of compassion.

"His loss is felt by all who were lucky enough to have known him, missed daily by all his friends and family alike who are struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

"We would like to thank all those who have supported, cared for and been alongside us through the past 10 months. It means more to us than words can say through the most devastating time.

"Finally the last word must be for our dear son. We love you and will always love and keep your memory alive forever. You will never be forgotten, your smile will never fade and your light will continue to shine for eternity.”

The sentence has however come under criticism, with some pointing out that the maximum sentence for the more serious charge, death by dangerous driving is 14 years.

As we reported in 2012, sentencing does not generally appear follow the seriousness of the offence, even with aggravating factors like fleeing the scene.

The 2012 figures show that the average sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is just four years, 62 per cent of the average 6.6 year sentence for manslaughter.

It's even worse when you consider the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving. Those sentenced to prison for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving are given an average sentence of 1.3 years.

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs has an average sentence of 4.35 years.

Add new comment

24 comments

Avatar
alansmurphy | 6 years ago
0 likes

Just give him an extra 10 years for every % chance of the poor lad still being alive if the driver had not left the scene...

Avatar
ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
1 like

6.6 years for manslaughter... Oh, you left them for dead, destroyed evidence but it was only a cyclist, here's your discount tariff.

I presume this kid was wearing hi-viz, for all the good it would have done?

Avatar
ken skuse | 6 years ago
2 likes

First, I wish to express my sorrow to the grieving parents for the loss of their fine son.  I and many others know how sad you feel, how devastated and unhappy you are in your misery. 

I am in total agreement with those above who have written in and sent their sincere comments. Crime, justice, punishment and deterrents. It is very close to a murder, yet the punishment is ridiculously lenient, and will hardly act as a deterrent. Shocking and disgraceful. This is not justice.

Let us hope some strong leader, and crowd funding will emerge to lead a powerful protest to the failed authorities. I would contribute.

We are fellow cyclists, let us all band together and fight.

 

Avatar
Grahamd | 6 years ago
0 likes

@oldstrath & srchar 

Thanks for the replies let's hope next week we get MPs who actually act on behalf of the electorate.

Avatar
Grahamd | 6 years ago
0 likes

We have these discussions on this forum every few weeks, regarding sentences appearing excessively lenient. Whilst it may feel good to vent frustration, it ultimately achieves nothing unless those same feelings are brought to the attention of our MPs. As a contributor to the recent all party parliamentary group I feel that my concerns have been listened to. However, the actions and reccomendations made by the group will not come to fruition unless the MPs continue to be pressurised by us cylists.

So every time you vent on here, e-mail your MP and put pressure on them.

Avatar
srchar replied to Grahamd | 6 years ago
4 likes
Grahamd wrote:

So every time you vent on here, e-mail your MP and put pressure on them.

I've written twice and received the same standard reply explaining that the government doesn't think there's a problem.

Then again, my MP is fully signed up to the Daily Heil view of cycling and cyclists. He's the twat in Enfield who has pledged to tear up cycling infrastructure that's already being built if he gets elected.

Avatar
oldstrath replied to Grahamd | 6 years ago
0 likes
Grahamd wrote:

We have these discussions on this forum every few weeks, regarding sentences appearing excessively lenient. Whilst it may feel good to vent frustration, it ultimately achieves nothing unless those same feelings are brought to the attention of our MPs. As a contributor to the recent all party parliamentary group I feel that my concerns have been listened to. However, the actions and reccomendations made by the group will not come to fruition unless the MPs continue to be pressurised by us cylists.

So every time you vent on here, e-mail your MP and put pressure on them.

I have, but despite claiming to be a cyclist, he essentially says that his party doesn't want to offend the moton vote.

Avatar
Morgoth985 | 6 years ago
1 like

BTBS, I think the discount for a guilty plea is more for expediency than anything else.  I see where you're coming from, people should do the right thing anyway, but anybody guilty, whether by plea or by trial, is by definition a criminal.  Not the most honest subset of society.  Sadly in this context if you don't have some sort of reward for owning up you'll get more people trying it on.  If you had said there should be a heavy penalty even if you plead guilty, and then an even heavier one if you are found guilty at trial, then I would be with you.

Hard to disagree with the rest of your post.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
3 likes

Maybe we need such callous disrespect for another human being treated far more harshly. When aggravating factors are included such as leaving someone to die after you've already neglected their safety to such an extent they are likely to succumb then maybe we need to think about an eye for an eye.

Whilst captial punishment for motoring crimes seems a bit OTT 9 out of 10 people surveyed by road safety campaigners stated they would want death by dangerous driving prosecuted as manslaughter.

That death by careless is being used yet again just hightlights how the system is failing us, not just people on bikes but others in motorvehicles, pedestrians, equestrians etc.

The sickening thing is the killer gets a discount for pleading guilty, this IMHO is ALWAYS wrong. Getting a reward for not lying under oath/attestation and owning up to your crime should never receive a reduction on your tariff.

Also because the powers that be saw fit to offer 'death by careless' as a solution to a failed system due to reluctance of motorcentric jury's to convict. That we downgrade a dangerous act (by definition that you struck and harmed another means the act must have being dangerous in the first place) to merely 'careless' is a disgusting, callous and unjust course to take not only on individuals families but on society as a whole.

The governement are culpable for almost all deaths and serious injuries on our roads by their failure to act, their failure to not only put measures in place to restrict motorvehicle use (& all the other downsides from that), but failure to put in measures that could simply bring the standard of driving to a far higher level and change the mindset of people driving killing machines.

it would be oh so easy to change the laws that reduce power and acceleration to a maximum level for private motors and to force hauliage companies to rethink their rolling stock when used in towns/cities but they won't.

Gutless and criminal, worse than the killer here in fact.

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
5 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

 

The governement are culpable for almost all deaths and serious injuries on our roads by their failure to act, their failure to not only put measures in place to restrict motorvehicle use (& all the other downsides from that), but failure to put in measures that could simply bring the standard of driving to a far higher level and change the mindset of people driving killing machines.

it would be oh so easy to change the laws that reduce power and acceleration to a maximum level for private motors and to force hauliage companies to rethink their rolling stock when used in towns/cities but they won't.

It's a car. It's primary purpose is transport. It's not a gun, that has a primary purpose of killing. 

If you start correlating horsepower to death rates you won't get the answer you think you'll get. Look at the young for example, high accident rates but they aren't all driving fast cars, they're just driving cars too fast. 

Killing cyclists has nothing to with horsepower and more to do with not paying attention or making stupid overtaking decisions. The headlines on here will rarely be 'cyclist killed by Ferrari'. A Corsa will do the job most of the time. 

Avatar
ktache | 6 years ago
6 likes

Detective Sergeant Adam Cooper, Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said

"Steven Mills allowed hardly any room... "

Does the DS need someone to explain to him how this collision thing works?

He hit him, with a vehicle, not allowing any room, hardly or otherwise.

Avatar
WolfieSmith | 6 years ago
5 likes

4.5 years driving ban??!!  Mandatory lifetime driving ban if you are convicted of dangerous driving that takes a life. 

I keep signing petitions for this but they never get anywhere. It makes no difference to the victim - but if I was a family member for a victim, knowing that person will never be able to drive again would help. 

Avatar
Morgoth985 replied to WolfieSmith | 6 years ago
1 like
WolfieSmith wrote:

4.5 years driving ban??!!  Mandatory lifetime driving ban if you are convicted of dangerous driving that takes a life. 

I keep signing petitions for this but they never get anywhere. It makes no difference to the victim - but if I was a family member for a victim, knowing that person will never be able to drive again would help. 

No it makes no difference to the unfortunate lad or to his family, but it makes a big difference to the rest of us whether others, and indeed the criminal himself in future, are deterred from committing this crime.  In a sense we're all victims.

Avatar
SingleSpeed | 6 years ago
0 likes

Other than using the Government petition system what way is there to make the Judicial system review the pathetic Careless/Dangerous Driver system and ridiculous sentences offenders are given?

 

There must be something as riders that can be done

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet | 6 years ago
9 likes

Good to know that at least hardened arse touchers from the 70s will be put away for 8 years though.

Yes cyclists, your life is worth less than a fondled arse.

Avatar
srchar | 6 years ago
1 like

If he keeps his nose clean while inside, he'll be out in 20 months. Utterly pitiful sentencing. Who knows, if this selfish individual had stopped to check on the poor young lad, performed CPR, stemmed bleeding, even just called an ambulance, he may still be alive. I struggle to see much difference between leaving someone to die and murder.

Avatar
vonhelmet replied to srchar | 6 years ago
2 likes
srchar wrote:

If he keeps his nose clean while inside, he'll be out in 20 months. Utterly pitiful sentencing. Who knows, if this selfish individual had stopped to check on the poor young lad, performed CPR, stemmed bleeding, even just called an ambulance, he may still be alive. I struggle to see much difference between leaving someone to die and murder.

I wish I had a quid for every time someone fails to understand that murder requires intent.

Avatar
Morgoth985 replied to vonhelmet | 6 years ago
0 likes
vonhelmet wrote:
srchar wrote:

If he keeps his nose clean while inside, he'll be out in 20 months. Utterly pitiful sentencing. Who knows, if this selfish individual had stopped to check on the poor young lad, performed CPR, stemmed bleeding, even just called an ambulance, he may still be alive. I struggle to see much difference between leaving someone to die and murder.

I wish I had a quid for every time someone fails to understand that murder requires intent.

I don't think it requires intent to kill though.  I think intent to cause GBH, which then does actually kill, is also murder.  Anyway the way I read srchar's post is that it's drawing a kind of moral equivalence, not a legal one.

Avatar
srchar replied to vonhelmet | 6 years ago
4 likes
vonhelmet wrote:
srchar wrote:

If he keeps his nose clean while inside, he'll be out in 20 months. Utterly pitiful sentencing. Who knows, if this selfish individual had stopped to check on the poor young lad, performed CPR, stemmed bleeding, even just called an ambulance, he may still be alive. I struggle to see much difference between leaving someone to die and murder.

I wish I had a quid for every time someone fails to understand that murder requires intent.

Obviously, the driver didn't go out intending to hit and kill someone.

However, if you hit someone hard enough to kill them, see in your mirrors that they're not getting up, then drive off without even calling an ambulance, what is one's intent at that point? It's certainly not to ensure that the victim remains alive and well.

While there's a legal difference, I see little to no moral difference between that and some instances of murder.

Avatar
1961BikiE | 6 years ago
4 likes

Shocking sentence considering the driver, as well as hitting the lad, didn't check his condition, glad the scene, tried to destroy the evidence. Pathetic. And that driving ban will do no good whatsoever. I'm making an assumption here but I suspect that before his license is restored he'll be driving again. And will obviously be u insured. I have no evidence to back this up, purely personal bias. But compared to the actions of the guilty party I'm prepared to flaunt my bias.

Avatar
sm | 6 years ago
6 likes

Very sad, both the incident and the average sentencing numbers at the end of the article.

Avatar
Morgoth985 | 6 years ago
10 likes

I hesitate to make this point because in this context it's coming from a grieving family's statement, which I think is different, but I think it's relevant because of what yet again seems an unduly lenient sentence.  I'm disturbed by an increasing trend to note that no sentence will bring back the deceased.  

I'm pretty sure in other cases I've heard the police and even judges make this observation as though to justify a lesser charge and sentence.  Was that in their minds in this case also?  Because if so it's inappropriate.  The whole basis of criminal law is to treat the criminal's act as a wrong done to society as a whole, not just to the immediate victim.  Obviously, an appropriate punishment helps society by deterring others from committing the same crime in future.  We all have a stake in this.

Naturally the family will feel this way in their suffering and they have my respect and condolences.  But no officials in the criminal justice system should be thinking this way.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Morgoth985 | 6 years ago
1 like
Morgoth985 wrote:

I hesitate to make this point because in this context it's coming from a grieving family's statement, which I think is different, but I think it's relevant because of what yet again seems an unduly lenient sentence.  I'm disturbed by an increasing trend to note that no sentence will bring back the deceased.  

I'm pretty sure in other cases I've heard the police and even judges make this observation as though to justify a lesser charge and sentence.  Was that in their minds in this case also?  Because if so it's inappropriate.  The whole basis of criminal law is to treat the criminal's act as a wrong done to society as a whole, not just to the immediate victim.  Obviously, an appropriate punishment helps society by deterring others from committing the same crime in future.  We all have a stake in this.

Naturally the family will feel this way in their suffering and they have my respect and condolences.  But no officials in the criminal justice system should be thinking this way.

And don't forget how every offender is, in mitigation, tremendously repentant (but only once they've been caught and found guilty)...

Avatar
tonyleatham | 6 years ago
13 likes

So destroying evidence is worth only four months less than killing a teenager? Less than two years for leaving someone to die by the side of the road?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Latest Comments