World News

Jaguar driver, 38, who caused woman's death is jailed nine months

Jaguar driver, 38, who lost control and smashed into a grandmother’s Vauxhall Corsa – causing her death – minutes after ‘showing off’ and speeding in his new car is jailed for nine months

  • Ian Leech, 38, lost control of his new Jaguar after ‘showing off’ in August 2020
  • He crashed into the car of Karen Harrison, 63, near Melton, East Yorkshire
  • Mrs Harrison’s injuries were ‘not survivable’ and she tragically died at the scene  
  • Leech, of Hessle, East Yorks, was jailed nine months with a two-year driving ban

A driver has been jailed after smashing into the car of a much-loved grandmother after ‘showing off’ in his new Jaguar, which he had bought just a day earlier.

Ian Leech, 38, was driving his ‘powerful’ three-litre Jaguar XF when he lost control of the vehicle on a sweeping left-hand bend in Melton Bottom, near Melton, East Yorkshire, on August 29, 2020.

Leech, who was speeding just minutes earlier, experienced handling problems and drifted into the opposite lane. It led to a head-on smash into the Vauxhall Corsa driven by 63-year-old Karen Harrison.

Mrs Harrison’s car suffered ‘total devastation’ and she died soon afterwards, despite the best efforts of those at the scene.

At Hull Crown Court, Leech, of Hessle, East Yorkshire, admitted causing death by careless driving and was jailed for nine months and banned from driving for two years and 18 weeks.

Ian Leech, 38, of Hessle, East Yorkshire, admitted causing death by careless driving and was jailed for nine months and banned from driving for two years and 18 weeks

Mother-of-two Mrs Harrison’s family paid tribute to the ‘centre of their world’ and spoke of their profound sense of loss.

Angus MacDonald, prosecuting, said that Leech had purchased the Jaguar from a dealership only the previous day and this ‘significantly contributed to the accident’ because it was far more powerful than his previous Honda Civic car and he had little experience of driving it.

He finished work at Melton industrial estate at about 5.50pm and began driving home. Also in the car was a work colleague, who was being given a lift home.

Leech was ‘showing off’ in the early stages and was speeding with his ‘foot down’ at some point during the journey, the court heard. It became apparent that there was a problem with how the car was handling and it seemed to be ‘slipping’ as he drove it. 

‘The defendant was struggling to control the vehicle prior to the collision,’ said Mr MacDonald.

The collision happened after Leech drove across an A63 bridge and approached a sweeping left-hand bend at Melton Bottom after 6pm.

63-year-old grandmother Karen Harrison’s car suffered ‘total devastation’ at the scene in Melton Bottom, East Yorkshire, and she sadly died soon afterwards

Mrs Harrison was travelling in the opposite direction towards Melton. Leech’s car drifted over the centre line coming out of the corner and went onto the other side of the road. His car was out of control and the tyres screeched.

Mr McDonald described how the passenger ‘closed his eyes and there was a loud bang’ which sent the Jaguar spinning to the left. Mrs Harrison’s car careered off onto a verge. 

Both cars were badly damaged. The Jaguar came to a stop in the road and the Corsa ended up in a field. 

Leech had been driving at between 64.8mph and 54.9mph in the seconds before the accident, although he was under 50mph at the time of the crash. The two rear tyres were significantly underinflated, but the main cause of the accident was his use of the ‘full application of the throttle’ shortly beforehand. The roads were also wet after earlier rain.

Leech had convictions for nine previous offences, dating back to 2003 and including two for drink-driving in 2005 and 2006, driving while disqualified in 2006, breaching a community order in 2007 and an offence of violence in 2008.

Richard Thompson, mitigating, said that the accident had a ‘profound and devastating impact’ on the family and friends of Mrs Harrison. ‘The defendant seeks to apologise to those who have been personally affected by his driving,’ said Mr Thompson.

Mr Thompson said Leech had expressed genuine remorse and had said in a letter that he wanted to show his ‘utmost remorse for the tragic incident I was involved in’.  

He said that he had felt ‘numbness and pain’ but realised that this was ‘a fraction of what others had suffered’.

‘If I could change the events of that evening, I would,’ he said. ‘I offer my deepest and sincere apology to everyone involved.’

Father-of-two Leech accepted that his inexperience with the car and his failure to take action when he realised that there was a problem had contributed to the accident. 

Regarding the underinflated tyres, Mr Thompson asked, ‘who, in [Leech’s] position, would actually have bothered to check the tyre pressures’ when the car had been bought from the garage the day before.

‘He faces up to the consequences of what he has done,’ said Mr Thompson. Leech had a long record of working but he had not been doing so recently after receiving an interim driving ban at a court hearing in August.

Judge Mark Bury told Leech: ‘The collision was a particularly bad one. Both cars were totally damaged. Karen Harrison’s car ended up off the road in a field adjacent to the road.’ Her car suffered ‘total devastation’ in the crash.

‘In truth, the collision was not survivable and, unhappily, Karen did not survive it,’ said Judge Bury. She was a ‘much-loved’ wife and had two children and four grandchildren, all of whom ‘loved her dearly.’ 

She was a ‘pivotal point’ of their family and they had all suffered ‘unimaginable grief at her passing and continued to do so’. Judge Bury said that no sentence he imposed could ‘bring Karen back to life’ or assuage the grief of the family. 

‘It is a serious case of its type,’ said Judge Bury. ‘You were unfamiliar with the car’s performance.’ Leech was aware of roadholding problems with the car but he did not stop to see if anything could be done about it and did not get the tyre pressures checked at an A63 petrol station.

‘You knew there was a defect in the vehicle and you continued to drive it at or over the speed limit when you should have been driving much more slowly,’ said Judge Bury.

‘Karen was looking forward to retirement jointly with her husband and they were hoping to spend quality time with their family and grandchildren and travelling but none of that has transpired. The family’s grief is all-consuming. The circumstances of the driving and the effects of it are such that only a sentence of immediate custody can be imposed.’

As Leech was led away, he gestured to three supporters in the public gallery as he left the secure dock to go down to the cells.

Source: Read Full Article