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Teenager simply cycling home from work when he was killed in Darlaston crash, court told

A teenager had been cycling home from work when he was killed in a crash in Darlaston after a driver attempting to avoid police lost control of a stolen car, a court heard.

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Florentine Chinanga–Chou

Christopher Talbot, of Orchard Road, Bridgnorth, was jailed for nine years for killing 19-year-old Florentine Chinanga–Chou by dangerous driving, at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge on the day he was due to stand trial, as well as to charges involving burglary, driving whilst disqualified, without a licence and insurance.

He was at the wheel of a red Vauxhall Corsa which struck the teenager in Midland Road in the early hours of November 27, 2020.

Christopher Talbot

Mr Rupert Jones, prosecuting, said Talbot had earlier been involved in a burglary with others at Boots, in Dudley Street, Wolverhampton, in the late hours of November 26.

The court heard that he tried to smash his way into the store with a large slab of concrete but when police arrived Talbot fled the scene in the Vauxhall Corsa.

Just over an hour later, he was driving in the Wednesbury area when he drove past a marked police car.

Mr Jones said the police car began to turn around, prompting Talbot to try to escape.

He turned off the car's headlights and drove down Midland Road, Darlaston, at speeds of up to 68mph in a 30mph zone, the court was told.

Mr Jones said Mr Chinanga–Chou was on his way home from work on his bike when he was struck.

The Yodel worker had been cycling in the opposite direction and was hit when Talbot lost control of the car. The vehicle also struck a lamppost and landed on its roof.

Mr Chinanga–Chou, from Darlaston, was treated by emergency services following the collision, but despite their efforts he was confirmed dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, Mr Jones said Talbot fled the scene but was arrested the next day.

A victim impact statement from Mr Chinanga–Chou's mother described how she had fought for five years to bring him to the UK from Cameroon and he had been in the UK for a year before being killed.

She said he had been "gentle and caring to everyone he met" and had been studying IT and acting at college, with the hope of building a career in either subject.

Defending Talbot, Mr Harinderpal Dhami said he had been addicted to Class A drugs, but while in prison he had completed several courses and was a 'trusted inmate'.

He argued that Talbot had been disorientated after the collision.

Sentencing Talbot, Judge Stephen Thomas said: "On November 27, he [Mr Chinanga–Chou] had done nothing more than put in a late night shift at Yodel and was cycling home.

"Unbeknown to him, you were out and about in a stolen car.

"You, in the course of your dangerous driving that night, took that young man's life away. It's not possible to get that back.

"Mr Chinanga–Chou was riding along the cycle path not interfering with anybody.

"You were coming in the opposite direction, lights off, travelling at speed.

"You lost control and skidded across the road, flipped over onto your roof and collided with that young man, unfortunately killing him."

He said Talbot later showed a lack of remorse and went on to commit offences of aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified in March this year, in an incident where eight cars were damaged and two police officers were injured.

Judge Thomas also disqualified Talbot from driving for 14 years, telling him: "You are an absolute hazard on the road as far as other users are concerned."

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