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Drink-driver who killed cyclist jailed for 8 years 4 months

William Stallard was speeding when he killed Michael Waistell – then drove off and claimed his van had been stolen

A drunk hit-and-run driver who killed a cyclist in Hartlepool while speeding and who then claimed his van had been stolen has been jailed for eight years.

Teeside Crown Court heard that it was “inconceivable” that William Stallard would not have known he had crashed into Michael Waistell, aged 58, on Mowbray Road in Hartlepool at around 6.45am on 31 July, reports Gazette Live.

Stallard, who had been driving at 50mph in a 30mph zone, failed to stop and reported his van stolen to police later that day.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the court: "No attempt was made by the driver to stop and check on the casualty. The collision would have been obvious, yet the driver continued to drive off.

“Having fatally injured Mr Waistell, the defendant then drove his van for a further 0.8 miles through residential streets.”

He said that Stallard then pulled over and asked a woman if he could use her mobile phone, calling police on 101 to report his van stolen at a time before the fatal crash happened.

Mr Bennett continued: “Shortly afterwards, police officers arrived outside of her property to speak to the defendant.

“He had called the police and lied to them about his van, claiming it had been stolen.

“It is inconceivable that he did not know he had been involved in a serious and life-threatening collision with a cyclist. 

“The lie he told the operator on 101 and his attempt to evade justice for the death of Mr Waistell would persist throughout his interviews that day.”

A witness recalled how the victim had veered slightly to his right to try and avoid the crash, mountain the pavement before returning to the carriageway.

“The noise of the collision and the sound of the van had roused a number of people and very shortly thereafter, a number of people gathered to see if they could provide assistance,” Mr Bennett said.

“It was clear that Mr Waistell had suffered catastrophic and unsurvivable injury and that the collision had killed him instantly.”

Stallard was found to have an alcohol reading of 52 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, against a legal limit of 35 micrograms, and also tested positive for cocaine.

Stallard pleaded guilty last month to causing death through dangerous driving and drink driving as well as doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice through reporting the van stolen.

Postponing sentencing until yesterday’s hearing, Judge Deborah Sherwin explained: “I can’t proceed to sentence you today. That’s because the family of the deceased, Mr Waistell, need to have the opportunity to be able to make statements setting out what the impact of all this has been on them and they need to have an opportunity of attending court, either in person or over the videolink.”

At yesterday’s hearing, Mr Waistell’s daughter, Laura, read a victim impact statement out in court.

She said: “Now my mum sits at night and asks me how are we going to live without him? And I really don't have the answers that will give her much comfort.

“Even though I'm their daughter, I can't replace my mum's life partner.

“We, as a family, will never get over what has happened to my dad although we have been shown so much love and support.

“What hurts the most is the fact that he was just left alone to die.

“When the police told us what the driver did, we couldn't quite comprehend that someone could do that to another human being.

“He selfishly tried to blame someone else so he could get away with it. This shows he has little respect, not only for my dad, but for all overs around him.”

Addressing Stallard, who was appearing in court via videolink from Durham Prison, she said: “You are a coward who was full of alcohol and drugs.

“You knew you seriously hurt my dad but you left him to die and you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.

“I hope to God your children will never have to go through what we have experienced. This will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

“Your selfish actions since being reprimanded by denying what you've done initially, dragging your heels and not admitting to it for so long has not only wasted a lot of people's time but also prolonged justice for our father's death.

“My dad deserves justice and we pray that he is able to get it so he can rest in peace and we as a family can try and move forward,” she added.

Sentencing Stallard to eight years four months in prison and banning him from driving for 10 years and five months, Judge Howard Crowson said: “The selfishness of your driving was only matched by the selfishness of your behaviour after the event.

“You caused the collision. Your driving put yourself in a position where neither of you could avoid the collision.

“He was blameless and you were entirely to blame.”

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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11 comments

Avatar
peted76 | 3 years ago
5 likes

I'm pleased this scumbag got 8 years, but the point stands that he'll be back on the road in 10.

He should serve his sentence and when he does get out never be allowed to control a motorised vehicle again. It's a privilege he should have lost, not a right to be given back.

Avatar
andystow replied to peted76 | 3 years ago
9 likes

Didn't they change the law a couple of years ago so that the jail term and driving ban are consecutive, not concurrent? He's 35 now, so he'll be 53 before he can drive again if he serves the full term. Hopefully he'll have grown up.

Avatar
fukawitribe replied to andystow | 3 years ago
7 likes
andystow wrote:

Didn't they change the law a couple of years ago so that the jail term and driving ban are consecutive, not concurrent?

Yes.

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism | 3 years ago
9 likes

To clear up a badly edited point in the above report involving mountains, 

Quote:

Mr Bennett told the court how a witness saw Mr Waistell veer slightly to the right to try and avoid a collision with the van, but was unable to do so.

He said the witness thought that Stallard was also going to hit him and his dog, after mounting the curb, but he returned to the road.

So he almost took out another person as well. 

Avatar
Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
13 likes

Finally a decent sentence. Probably not much consolation to the family but at least it's not a insult like some that get handed out.

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the little onion replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
5 likes

Yep - and the revocation of the driving license for 10  years 5 months is better than most. But not long enough.....

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brooksby replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
6 likes

Is it cynical of me to suspect that he only received such a heavy sentence because he tried to pervert the course of justice?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
2 likes

Is the 8 years also taking into account the Guilty pleas or is that reduction still to be mentioned?

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ChrisB200SX replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Is it cynical of me to suspect that he only received such a heavy sentence because he tried to pervert the course of justice?

Yes, but there does seem to be a very clear pattern that heavy sentences for killing cyclists are only handed out where drink/drugs and other aggravating factors are involved. One could argue that it appears the heavy sentences are actually for these factors rather than for the killing  2

Avatar
PRSboy | 3 years ago
8 likes

I hope Michael Waistell's family can find some peace.

 

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NZ Vegan Rider replied to PRSboy | 3 years ago
1 like

Agreed. How heartbreaking for them ;-(

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