Hit-and-run driver jailed

10/02/2016

A hit-and-run driver who pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court during an earlier hearing of causing the death of Joseph Hunt by dangerous driving has today been sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The victim was out with friends in Rugeley during the evening 6 December 2014 when he decided to walk home.

At around 2am, as Mr Hunt used a pedestrian crossing on Western Springs Road, he was struck by a car being driven by 19-year-old James Masters.

Having collided with Mr Hunt, the defendant failed to stop his car and continued with his journey home.

An hour after the collision, members of the public found Mr Hunt in the carriageway of the road and contacted the emergency services. The victim died from his injuries at the roadside

The scene was examined for evidence by the police who recovered a Skoda car badge as well as other fragments of a car.

The following morning, a member of the public noticed that the defendant's Skoda had extensive damage to the nearside and reported this to the Police. Mr Masters was arrested and questioned over the damage.

The defendant's vehicle, which was fitted with a tracking device as a condition of his insurance policy, was examined. The data from the device was analysed and showed Mr Masters to have driven at speeds of up to 84mph during his journey, far in excess of the prevailing 30mph limit. Significantly, data from the device revealed that Mr Masters was driving in excess of the speed limit when his car collided with Mr Hunt.

The defendant was charged with, and today pleaded guilty to, causing death by dangerous driving.

Emily Lenham, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"James Masters was driving at a speed significantly in excess of the speed limit when he struck and fatally killed Joe Hunt, a pedestrian, who was crossing the road at a junction, where there is a pedestrian crossing. 

"There were no witnesses to the incident, however, the defendant's car was fitted with a tracking device in accordance with his insurance policy. This enabled his location and speed to be accurately gauged and showed that he was driving at 57mph in a 40 mph limit. 

"The prosecution evidence, based upon the analysis of GPS position and speed measurements recorded by the device, demonstrated the speed at which he was travelling at the time of the collision.

"This driving was simply part of an ongoing course of bad driving: his speed peaked at 86mph in a 30mph speed limit just minutes before the fatal collision. The defendant's account, provided to the police that he was 'driving carefully' was largely disproved by the crucial evidence of data extracted from the tracking device."