South Yorkshire motorist 'caused death of a friend after crashing into two trees'

A motorist who caused the death of a friend after he crashed into two trees has been spared from jail.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 9:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 12:41 pm

Sheffield Crown Court heard yesterday, June 22, how Mathew Hill, aged 29, of Willowgarth Avenue, Rotherham, lost control of a Land Rover Freelander on Bawtry Road, Rotherham, after he and three friends had been returning from an evening drinking alcohol.

Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said the friends had been at the Phoenix club, in Brinsworth, Rotherham, before Hill agreed to drive everyone home and after he swerved into two trees passenger Mitchell John Vernon suffered serious head injuries and later died.

Joy Merriam, defending, said: “This is an absolute tragedy for everybody. Mr Hill expresses great remorse and sympathy to the family of the deceased.

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A motorist has been given a suspended prison sentence at Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, after he admitted causing the death of a friend following a crash.

“They have lost a relative and he has lost a close friend. It is a tragedy both for Mr Vernon and his family and for Mr Hill and his family.”

Mr Goldsack explained Hill had been working at the Phoenix before drinking and agreed to drive the Freelander which belonged to one of the friends.

Hill lost control beneath a railway bridge and veered to the right and back and mounted a kerb before crossing rough ground, according to Mr Goldsack.

Mr Goldsack added the vehicle collided with a tree and struck a second tree and back seat passenger Mr Vernon struck his head against a passenger door.

Hill failed a roadside drink-drive test but when he gave a formal specimen four-hours later he was under the limit.

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, admitted causing death by careless driving and causing death while driving without a licence and without insurance after the incident on July 21, 2018.

Hill told police he had driven because he felt the least affected by alcohol and he lost control after avoiding a cat in the road.

Ms Merriam, defending, said Hill is caring and had acted out of character.

She added Mr Vernon had not been wearing a seatbelt because there had been a child seat in the vehicle.

Judge Graham Reeds QC sentenced Hill to six-months of custody suspended for 18-months with an eight-month curfew. Hill was disqualified from driving for two-years.