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.