THE mother of a young father who was found dead more than a day after he was hit by a delivery driver says that she is “gutted” that the “coward” who failed to report the accident was not jailed.
This afternoon delivery driver Matthew James, 27, who had denied charges of failing stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident, escaped jail.
Bournemouth Magistrates' Court found him guilty at a trial last month after hearing that James, of Stoneylawn in Winterborne Kingston, struck 23-year-old Daniel Robbie, of Throop Close, Bournemouth, shortly before 6am on September 14 last year.
The body of Mr Robbie, who had been riding a micro-scooter, was found the next day in bushes next to the road.
Today, James was handed a 12-week prison term, suspended for 12 months, along with 180 hours of unpaid work, a six-month driving ban, £1,000 in costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Speaking to the Daily Echo after the case, Daniel's mum Julie Croucher said that no sentence was enough.
She added: “People need to realise what a coward the driver is for not stopping, but he tried to convince himself that he had hit a badger.
“Instead, he ignored the fact he had to own up to this and left my son there until he was found on the Sunday afternoon.”
This afternoon, the court was told that it had always been the Crown Prosecution's case that James was not responsible for the death of Mr Robbie, but his actions meant that there was a long delay in his body being found.
In mitigation, Mark Hensley said that James had not tried to hide the fact that he had been involved in an accident.
He added: “He might be forgiven for his misunderstanding of what the law is in relation to an accident in these particular circumstances.
“He is very sorry about the fact that this has happened.
“He is going to live with it for the rest of his life, knowing that someone has been killed as a result of this tragic accident and it has affected him.”
At the trial last month, magistrates found that James, who did not face a death by careless driving charge, had “deliberately closed” his eyes to events.
The trial heard that he had “lied repeatedly” to his girlfriend and family, claiming that he had hit a badger with his Toyota van.
Later, he admitted to police that he had made the account up.
However, he said he had no idea of what he had hit and assumed that the crash involved wildlife.
But he had struck Mr Robbie, whose body was found 32 hours later by a family member, partially concealed in undergrowth.
The following day he read an article on the Daily Echo’s website, which reported that that a man had been killed along the stretch of road.
The defendant searched Google on his phone in the early hours of the next morning for the term 'crush my car'.
Speaking after the case today, Daniel's mum, Julie Croucher, said she was “gutted” that James was not jailed.
She added: “No sentence is enough. Like I said before, I hope he lives with this for the rest of his life, like we have to live the rest of our lives without Dan.
“We understand that members of the public may have something to say about my son riding a scooter on the road. They don't know the circumstances of why he was trying to get home to his family.
“There is no law saying that he could not ride on the road, as you see people walking and cycling along this road.
“People need to realise what a coward the driver is for not stopping, but he tried to convince himself that he had hit a badger.
“Instead, he ignored the fact he had to own up to this and left my son there until he was found on the Sunday afternoon.
“This has been the hardest year of my life and we are yet still to go through the inquest hearing - and this will be a few days short of a year since we lost Daniel, if that is not hard enough to cope with.
“I would like to thank all of the investigating officers for their hard work on my son's case.”