Hit-and-run driver loses jail appeal

An uninsured hit-and-run driver who killed a cyclist by overtaking on the inside at speeds of around 60mph has been told by top judges he deserved every day of his jail term.

Hit-and-run driver loses jail appeal

Kile Daniel Straker, of Wolverhampton, ploughed into 74-year-old George Searle, of Dudley, before speeding off 'like a getaway driver', leaving the pensioner for dead.

He then abandoned his car at a garage, giving the garage owner a false name.

Police at the scene of the tragedy

He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years in November and was banned from driving for 10 years, after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving and driving while uninsured.

The 24-year-old, of Armstrong Drive, Dunstall Park, challenged his sentence at London's Criminal Appeal Court.

His lawyers argued the judge was wrong to assess his crime as being one of the most serious examples of causing death by dangerous driving.

But his complaints were thrown out by three senior judges, who said his bad driving was 'persistent and prolonged' and his jail term was 'not excessive'.

Grandfather-to-be Mr Searle, a cycling enthusiast from Dudley, was riding his bike along Stafford Road, towards Wolverhampton city centre, at about 12.30pm on July 11, 2013 when Straker hit him.

A van driver was safely overtaking the cyclist and it was while Straker – who was driving at speeds of up to 60mph on the 40mph road – tried to undertake the van that he struck Mr Searle.

The force of the crash was so severe that the victim struck and shattered the windscreen before being thrown over the car and landing on the road, while his bike was propelled in front of the van in the other lane.

Police investigations found that Straker had been driving at an average speed of 60mph when he was 55 to 65 yards – 50 to 60 metres – before the crash. Passers-by rushed to the aid of Mr Searle, who was married with two children, but nothing could be done to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Without stopping to offer help, Straker drove off and continued to drive dangerously – speeding on a roundabout, undertaking another car, straying into a bus lane and ignoring a red light.

He then took his car to a nearby garage, where he gave a false name.

Straker was arrested a month later, but he denied being the driver of the car until five days before he was due to stand trial – when he admitted the offences.

Speaking after he was originally sentenced in November last year, police said the lengthy sentence would 'give him time to contemplate the consequences of his actions'.

Dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Mitting said: "This driving, taken as a whole – from the moment he began to drive at excessive speed, through the grossly dangerous undertaking manoevure, which resulted in the fatal collision, right through to the point at which he abandoned the car in the garage – was plainly a prolonged and persistent course of very bad driving.

"He showed a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road."

Mr Searle's son David and daughter-in-law Alison were expecting their first child when the retired printer was killed.

He had cycled all his life and had been a member of the Hill Top Cycling Club.

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