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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”.

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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

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NOtotheEU replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
13 likes

I wonder if the police statement is a thinly veiled rebuke of the Judges statements by the people who investigated this man and know the truth, dealt with the devastating aftermath and are disgusted by her comments?

Sergeant Andrew Page of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said:  . . . . “Hughes’ actions that evening were 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.

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Rendel Harris replied to NOtotheEU | 4 months ago
8 likes

Definitely an element of that I think and quite right too.

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HollisJ replied to NOtotheEU | 4 months ago
4 likes

In that respect the sentence may have been more appropriate if it was the police doing the sentencing, not the judge...

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Bungle_52 replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
15 likes

Would the story go something like this.

I fled the scene to show how much I cared about the cyclist I had just injured. Unfortunately they caught up with me as I must have been even more off my head than I thought and I had left my number plate as evidence. I then tried to convince them that it wasn't me by giving a false name. I'm glad they saw through this though as it allowed me to show how remorseful I was when I eventually appeared in court having pled guilty to careless driving. It is a well known fact that killing a cyclist is merely careless otherwise I would have accepted dangerous driving.

I now have to live with that for the rest of my life. Surely that is punishment enough.

I now hope other drivers will learn from my experience and not leave their number plate at the scene.

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LookAhead replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

to the prosecutor praising the killer's "courage and good sense", telling us he's "a lovely young man" and who feels "extremely guilty"

Small correction: according to the article, those comments were made by the defense, not the prosecutor. Still a travesty overall, but the comment is a bit different coming from the one than from the other.

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Rendel Harris replied to LookAhead | 4 months ago
3 likes

Sorry, yes my mistake, of course I knew it was the defence lawyer but obviously brain fade as I typed – edited.

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LookAhead replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
7 likes

To be honest, given how asinine these proceedings often are I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been the prosecutor.

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ktache | 4 months ago
11 likes

A two year ban!

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andystow replied to ktache | 4 months ago
6 likes

ktache wrote:

A two year ban!

And if caught driving while under it, he'll get another one!

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