Dangerous driver jailed after crash that killed man

A man from Stafford has been jailed for more than five years after causing the death of another driver in a car crash in Stone.

Thomas Cockroft. Photo: Staffordshire Police
Thomas Cockroft. Photo: Staffordshire Police

Thomas Cockroft had been driving his VW Golf on Eccleshall Road in Stone last year when he collided with a Ford Fiesta.

The 25-year-old's car collided with the other vehicle at the junction of Common Lane at around midday on September 20.

Ian Kerr, aged 43 from Stone, who was driving the Fiesta, was severely injured and died at Royal Stoke University Hospital on September 27.

Advance toxicology results, on a blood sample obtained from Mr Kerr, showed he was one-and-a-half times over the legal limit for drink driving.

Forensic collision investigators confirmed Cockroft, of Hambridge Close in Stafford, was travelling at 70mph at the time of the collision – in a 30mph zone.

And there was evidence the 25-year-old had been using his mobile phone whilst driving in the minutes prior to the crash. Cockroft pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court in April to causing the death of Mr Kerr by dangerous driving.

He was sentenced on Wednesday at the same court, to 65 months imprisonment and disqualified from driving for months 69 months, with a requirement to complete an extended re-test.

The court heard that Cockroft had been stopped by officers in August last year, on suspicion of driving under the influence of cocaine. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced separately for that offence, in March this year, where he was ordered to pay a £500 fine and handed a 12 month-disqualification.

Pc Martin Colclough, of the Staffordshire and West Midlands Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "This is a tragic case where someone has needlessly lost their life due to grossly excessive speed and the distraction of using a mobile phone.

"The fact that Cockroft was driving the month before the collision under the influence of drugs goes to show his total disregard for the rules of the road.

"I would encourage motorists to observe the speed limits, to not use their phones whilst driving and to avoid driving under any influence of drugs or alcohol."

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Thomas Cockroft was over the drink drive limit. We are happy to clarify that he was not.

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