Killer driver’s appeal

Banned: Luke Middlebrook.
Banned: Luke Middlebrook.
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An UNQUALIFIED driver who caused the death of another motorist when he lost control of his high-powered car has had his jail term cut by a third on appeal.

Luke Benjamin Middlebrook, aged 22, of Greeton Drive, Oughtibridge, Sheffield, careered onto the wrong side of the A6102 on the night of January 24 in 2009, colliding with 25-year-old dad-to-be John Plant causing a fatal tear to his heart.

Middlebrook pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, causing death by careless driving while not insured and causing death by driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He was jailed for three years in May at Sheffield Crown Court and banned from the road for three years.

But judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court reduced his sentence to two years.

The court heard Middlebrook was not displaying L-plates and was not accompanied by a suitably qualified driver when he lost control of his recently bought Audi A3 and ploughed into Mr Plant’s Vauxhall Astra GSi on Manchester Road, Deepcar.

The smash - which pushed Mr Plant’s car into a barrier - caused a tear to his aorta.

Middlebrook and his passenger Daley Johns, 21, from Stannington, both suffered serious injuries in the smash.

Middlebrook, who was driving within the 50mph limit, said he simply lost control of the car.

Later investigations found a large screw embedded in one of the tyres of the vehicle, unbeknown to him, causing it to slowly deflate - one of the reasons which led Sir David Clarke to cut his sentence.

“The sentence must not be compared with the value of the life lost, which was priceless. Middlebrook should not have been driving at all,” the judge said.

“We recognise the emotion to which all such cases give rise, but we must stand back from that.

“The maximum sentence for this offence is five years’ imprisonment. In our judgement, the proper sentence here - the aggravating factors taken into account, against his full acceptance of responsibility and remorse - should be two years imprisonment.”