Drink driver cleared of killing teenagers but locked up for six months
A motorist with a drink problem who was cleared of killing two teenagers by careless driving has been jailed for six months for being over the alcohol limit when tragedy struck.
The victims were riding a speeding motorcycle which crashed into the side of Stephen Lloyd's Rover 25 outside his home in Broadway West, Walsall.
Alexander Lees, aged 19, who was in control of the Suzuki, and his 18-year-old pillion passenger Tarik Campbell were both "catastrophically and fatally" injured, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The bike was estimated to have been travelling at up to 81mph in a 30 limit before the smash.
The defendant was alleged to have failed to reach the standard of driving required when he crossed the path of the oncoming bike to get onto his drive shortly after 11.30pm on March 13 last year.
He maintained he had not seen or heard the motorcycle before it hit his car and was acquitted by the jury of causing the deaths of the two young friends by careless driving.
Lloyd, who had two previous convictions for drink driving and one for being in charge of a vehicle while drunk, was found guilty of being over the limit when the accident happened and was jailed for six months.
It was disclosed that he and his wife had been driven to drink after their grandson was murdered by the child's father around ten years ago.
"This led to his wife losing her life through multiple organ failure in October 2016 after turning to drink," revealed Mr Oliver Woolhouse, defending, who added: "This led to a significant period of heavy drinking and poor health for the defendant."
Lloyd, who had previous convictions involving 37 previous offences, had his plea for a new licence rejected on medical grounds linked to his drink problem in 2017 and his appeal was turned down later the same year, continued Mr Woolhouse.
Alexander Lees, who only had a provisional motorcycle licence, was riding a bike with too large an engine and should not have had a pillion passenger.
Judge James Burbidge QC told the defendant while passing sentence: "You decided to drive when you well knew you were over the limit and tried to disguise this by rushing into the house and drinking some alcohol after the crash."
Lloyd will be banned from driving for 10 years upon his release from prison.
Alex had been to collect Tarik from a nearby branch of McDonald's where the younger boy had just been promoted.
He was also hoping to get a mechanic apprenticeship and had been friends with Alex since they were much younger.
Fiona and Mike, the mother and father of Alex who played hockey for Wednesbury's first team and worked at The Bloxwich Showman pub in Walsall, said in a statement: "Both boys had lovely personalities, a sense of fun, loved to eat, play computer games and were very popular.
"Alex always wanted to be a blood courier biker but was disappointed you had to be 30 to do it.
"He was the centre of our world, so some 'trigger' makes us think of him probably every few minutes.
"He was our only child, we miss him all the time and will never have the chance and joys of grandchildren.
"We have not done any sorting of his bedroom a year on - it is just too painful.
"He was a typical, yet unique, teenage lad. Alex and Tarik both had the whole world ahead of them, full of possibilities, which will now not happen."
In the aftermath of the crash, Tarik’s family said: "Tarik was a well-loved son, grandson, brother, cousin and nephew.
"As well as that he was a good friend and we couldn’t be more proud of him.
"He was a hardworking and well-mannered young man and a huge role model for all of his siblings.
"He was a genuine kind-hearted person and his personality shined all the time.
"Tarik will be missed so much by everyone who knew him."
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