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Essex hit and run driver who killed cyclist jailed for more than four years

Ravinder Matharu was on the phone when he killed Matei Alexandru on New Year’s Eve

A driver from Essex who was on the phone to his girlfriend when he hit a cyclist causing fatal injuries and then fled the scene has been jailed for four years one month.

Ravinder Matharu, aged 32 and from South Ockenden, has also been banned from driving for seven years and will have to take an extended retest once that expires to get his licence back, reports yourthurrock.com.

He pleaded guilty at Basildon Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision, failing to report a collision, driving whilst disqualified and aggravated taking without consent.

The court heard that he was driving his brother’s Peugeot 206 car on Arisdale Avenue in South Ockenden on New Year’s Eve last year when he struck 43-year-old Matei Alexandru, a Romanian national who had been living in the UK for a year.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics to administer CPR.

Although the vehicle had what was described as significant damage, including the windscreen and one headlight, Matharu fled the scene and failed to report the collision to the police or the ambulance service.

That evening, police visited the home of his brother, the car’s registered owner, but the vehicle was not there, only being returned in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Matharu, meanwhile, went to another address to try and escape officers, and was arrested at a property in Purfleet later that day.

After the sentencing hearing yesterday, Mr Alexandru’s niece Cristina said on behalf of the family: “When we found out about my uncle’s death we were in complete shock and pain. Such pain never goes away, but rather it is something you get used to.

“The death of my uncle has brought pain, confusion, and a lot of stress. Half of the family is living in Germany, and the other half is in Romania.

“No matter how [Matharu] is punished, it will not change things for us.

“But I hope it will make a difference for him as a person – that he will repent and he will understand what he did. Life is not a joke or a game, let alone careless driving.”

Inspector Rob Brettell of Essex Police’s serious collision investigation unit commented: “My deepest sympathies go out to Mr Alexandru’s family at this incredibly difficult time. They’ve shown a real bravery throughout this process.

“To lose a loved one is unimaginably difficult, but I can’t begin to imagine how tough it’s been for them when they’re more than one thousand miles away.”

He continued: “I’m glad that Matharu had the decency to plead guilty to ensure that they didn’t have to go through a trial, but that doesn’t excuse his appalling crime. Not only did he get behind the wheel of a stolen car knowing that he was disqualified from driving, but he showed the utmost cowardice in his actions after hitting Mr Alexandru.

“By using a mobile phone at the time of the incident, Matharu was so distracted that he was not fully conscious of his surroundings, and it ended in Mr Alexandru’s life being taken.

“Distractions on the roads can be a killer, and I would urge anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle to have their full attention on the road at all times.

“I hope that Matharu’s time in prison gives him a chance to reflect on the consequences of his actions. The lives of Mr Alexandru’s family will never be the same again – and he only has himself to blame,” he added.

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.

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22 comments

Avatar
Tom_77 | 4 years ago
1 like

Sentencing Guidelines for causing death by dangerous driving:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/crown-court/item/causing-death-by-dangerous-driving/

 

The cyclist killed in Essex would be Level 2, so 4-7 years. 4 years and 1 month represents the top end of that with a third off for pleading guilty.

The pedestrian killed in Newcastle would be Level 1, so 7-14 years. 8 years represents 12 years with a third off for pleading guilty.

 

The second case is more serious because:

a) the driver had taken cocaine

b) there was a prolonged period of very dangerous driving - 82mph in a 30mph zone

c) there were multiple victims. In aditional to killing someone he also seriously injured 3 others including one who was paralysed from the waist down

 

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TriTaxMan | 4 years ago
2 likes

Sentence for causing death of a cyclist by dangerous driving with several aggrivating factors & a guilty plea - 4 years 1 month.

Sentence for causing death of a pedestrian by dangerous driving with several aggrivating factors and a guilty plea - 8 years.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-49126705

So 50% less valuable to society than a pedestrian? 

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes

More crushing of their precious cars and tagged reduction of liberty?

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FluffyKittenofT... | 4 years ago
5 likes

Typically lenient sentence for the motor-crat over-class.  What would the sentence have been if he'd done all the other things but not actually killed someone?

  Seems as if the penalty for driving-while-disqualified is just another driving-ban, which the recipient is free to ignore as they did the first one, which seems to make driving bans meaningless.

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kil0ran replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 4 years ago
5 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Typically lenient sentence for the motor-crat over-class.  What would the sentence have been if he'd done all the other things but not actually killed someone?

  Seems as if the penalty for driving-while-disqualified is just another driving-ban, which the recipient is free to ignore as they did the first one, which seems to make driving bans meaningless.

I think the most effective remedy (until we get a technological solution) would be for driving bans to be coupled with a suspended prison sentence. Get caught driving whilst banned, get banged up, simple. Tagging with a requirement to report daily to a police station 20 miles away would be a good option too.

Avatar
brooksby replied to kil0ran | 4 years ago
2 likes
kil0ran wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Typically lenient sentence for the motor-crat over-class.  What would the sentence have been if he'd done all the other things but not actually killed someone?

  Seems as if the penalty for driving-while-disqualified is just another driving-ban, which the recipient is free to ignore as they did the first one, which seems to make driving bans meaningless.

I think the most effective remedy (until we get a technological solution) would be for driving bans to be coupled with a suspended prison sentence. Get caught driving whilst banned, get banged up, simple. Tagging with a requirement to report daily to a police station 20 miles away would be a good option too.

Excellent idea.

My daughter loves watching those Police-Super-Interceptor-Driver type programmes.  If I had a pound for every story where someone's been pulled over for careless driving or speeding or drink-driving, then a check finds that they're banned from driving anyway, and then the voiceover explains "Mr Speedy was given a £xxx fine, and a driving ban of xxx months"...  Well, I'd be a very rich man.

I do not see the point of giving someone who's been caught driving while banned, a further driving ban.  Seriously - what is the point?  They've demonstrated that they'll just go and drive while banned again...

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jollygoodvelo | 4 years ago
2 likes

The most interesting thing here is that they actually got him for Death by Dangerous Driving, not careless.  That's unusual, most often they prosecute the lower offence to be sure of getting the conviction.

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RobD | 4 years ago
5 likes

Agree with the majority here, I thought from the headline it was a reasonable sentence, better than the usual suspended sentance and 2 year driving ban. But having read what a scumbag he was around the whole thing, it's far from enough.

Surely if you are banned from driving and have any kind of accident you should automatically receive the maximum sentence? Let alone fleeing the scene etc. What's the point of a ban otherwise?

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ktache | 4 years ago
5 likes

Off duty police officer?

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crazy-legs | 4 years ago
10 likes

DbDD is maximum 14 years.

Fail to stop is 6 months. So is driving while disqualified which also means you're driving without insurance. Phone use is 6 points and a £200 fine. TWOC depends on the court (magistrate or crown) but can be 6 months to 2 years.

So there's the guilty plea which gets him a maximum of 1/3rd reduced sentence although I'd argue that it's offset by the fact that the cowardly scumbag fled the scene and tried to hide the crime. I mean, there's "fail to stop" where you go home and deny all knowledge and say you thought you hit a deer and there's "fail to stop" where you know exactly what you've done, fuck off sharpish and hide out at someone else's house... He did the latter.

All of which begs the question - exactly what do you have to do to get anywhere near the maximum sentence for DbDD?! Mow down a classroom's worth of schoolchildren on a pedestrian crossing? Ram raid Buckingham Palace?

Clearly "one cyclist" doesn't really count for much.   2 His poor family.

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Hirsute | 4 years ago
5 likes

I read 4 years in the title and thought that was good, then I read the charges and what happened...

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ChrisB200SX | 4 years ago
8 likes

I was going to say "finally a proper sentence"... but then realised he's actually been punished for everything except killing a cyclist.

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burtthebike | 4 years ago
3 likes

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

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Htc replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
6 likes
burtthebike wrote:

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

It's sad that we now think an acceptable exchange for someone's life is a minimum 4 year custodial sentence. How is a life not worth more?

Avatar
Pyro Tim replied to Htc | 4 years ago
6 likes
Htc wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

It's sad that we now think an acceptable exchange for someone's life is a minimum 4 year custodial sentence. How is a life not worth more?

We are cyclists, our lives matter less than the right of everyone to drive. Apparently

Avatar
kil0ran replied to burtthebike | 4 years ago
4 likes
burtthebike wrote:

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

Guarantee if there's a conviction in the recent death of the Thames Valley police officer there won't be a discount or mitigation. The scrote who killed Dave Phillips on Merseyside got 20 years. I really don't see the difference in the level of aggravating circumstances here.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to kil0ran | 4 years ago
4 likes
kil0ran wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

Guarantee if there's a conviction in the recent death of the Thames Valley police officer there won't be a discount or mitigation. The scrote who killed Dave Phillips on Merseyside got 20 years. I really don't see the difference in the level of aggravating circumstances here.

I see in the TVP case,  the charge is Murder (at the moment). So does this mean in any case of cars deliberately driven at someone it should be Attempted Murder? Or only at Police?

Avatar
kil0ran replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 4 years ago
0 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:
kil0ran wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

I was going to say that this was, at last, a realistic sentence, but having read the previous posts, it's still much less than the law allowed, so why?  Lots of aggavating features, with the only mitigation possible from his guilty plea, but still got much less than he could have.

Perhaps we should all be grateful for the relatively harsh sentence.  Do I remember someone doing comparisons of sentences for various types of road users and their victims?

Guarantee if there's a conviction in the recent death of the Thames Valley police officer there won't be a discount or mitigation. The scrote who killed Dave Phillips on Merseyside got 20 years. I really don't see the difference in the level of aggravating circumstances here.

I see in the TVP case,  the charge is Murder (at the moment). So does this mean in any case of cars deliberately driven at someone it should be Attempted Murder? Or only at Police?

Generally, police officers are afforded extra protection under the law. The Dave Phillips killer was tried for murder, acquitted, and convicted of manslaughter. Will be interesting to see what happens in this latest case.

Very occasionally civilain road fatalities are tried as murder, manslaughter, or corporate manslaughter. Tipper runaway in Bath a couple of years ago, and I recall there was also one where the victim was known to the perpetrator and just happened to be riding a bike when they were targeted.

Actually - just been announced that this will be tried as murder

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/amrou-greenidge-cyclist-18-dies-af...

It seems that for a murder charge to be pursued the victim must either be a member of the emergency services, or known to the perpetrator. In this case he was assaulted after being knocked from his bike.

 

Avatar
Fishpastesarnie replied to kil0ran | 4 years ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

Guarantee if there's a conviction in the recent death of the Thames Valley police officer there won't be a discount or mitigation. The scrote who killed Dave Phillips on Merseyside got 20 years. I really don't see the difference in the level of aggravating circumstances here.

From what I have read he has been charged with murder. If found guilty the punishment for murdering a police officer in the course of his duty is a ‘whole life order’. This means as it says, there is no time off for anything.

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
9 likes

So he pleaded guilty, so that's a third off, with that list of charges he should have got 15 years, so down to 10.  And why not a lifetime ban, he's probably going to ignore it anyway, just like he was on the day he killed someone, and then drove off.

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zero_trooper replied to ktache | 4 years ago
4 likes
ktache wrote:

So he pleaded guilty, so that's a third off, with that list of charges he should have got 15 years, so down to 10.  And why not a lifetime ban, he's probably going to ignore it anyway, just like he was on the day he killed someone, and then drove off.

 

 

You would have thought in the circumstances a lifetime ban would be the minimum?

 

Avatar
kil0ran | 4 years ago
12 likes

So I'm guessing he got the standard discount of 50% for the guilty plea, which means the judge decided it wasn't worth the full tariff in the first place, despite aggravating circumstances inlcuding mobile phone use, leaving the scene, and attempting to conceal the crime.

Oh well, just another cyclist.

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