Anthony Whittaker to serve substantial jail sentence

12/03/2009

A hit and run driver who killed two men in County Durham out collecting conkers was today sentenced to ten years behind bars.

Anthony Whittaker from Bishop Auckland had pleaded guilty to two charges of death by dangerous driving, theft and driving while disqualified.

The two year old son of one of the victims was seriously injured after being thrown from his pushchair by the force of the collision.

Xanthe Tait, Head of South Durham CPS commented: "Brian Hardwick and David Weatherburn were hit by Mr Whittaker's car as he dangerously sped from the scene of a theft. Brian Hardwick, his baby son and David Weatherburn were returning from a day out conkering with their children.

"As they waited at the kerbside to cross the road they were mowed down. Despite the attempts of passing members of the public who tried to render immediate assistance to the two men they died later in hospital.

"Notwithstanding the substantial sentence today, Whittaker has destroyed lives and our deepest sympathies must first go to the families.

"There is some consolation that the success of this prosecution was as a result of the overwhelming response from members of the public. More than one hundred and thirty statements were volunteered by witnesses.

"Not only should Durham Constabulary should be commended for their outstanding investigation under the leadership of DC Crowe and DI Hugill, but the huge efforts of the prosecution team should be commended too. Mr Whittaker pleaded guilty to two charges of death by dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and theft of alcohol. Today's verdict on whether Mr Whittaker was drunk at the time he was driving has significantly affected the sentence he will receive."