Drug-driver jailed for causing death of Great Barr teenager Charlie Heywood

By Dayna Farrington | Great Barr | News | Published: | Last Updated:

An uninsured drug-driver who was more than three times over the limit has been jailed for six years for causing the death of a teenager crossing a Great Barr road.

Left; James Wilson who has been jailed. Right; Arsenal fan Charlie Heywood at the 2014 FA Cup final at Wembley

University student Charlie Heywood, 19, was killed when he was hit by a car driven at speed while crossing the A34 Birmingham Road in 2016.

James Wilson, of Chudleigh Grove, Great Barr, was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday at Birmingham Crown Court for causing his death.

Charlie had been given a lift home from a party in the early hours of June 5, 2016, and was crossing the road when he was hit by a blue Mercedes driven by Wilson. He died at the scene.

Mr Heywood, of Morjon Drive, Great Barr, was studying at university in London at the time and was home for a weekend out with friends when he was struck.

Driver Wilson, who was also aged 19 at the time, stopped a short distance away from the crash and a roadside drug swipe test showed that he had cannabis in his system.

Further analysis revealed he was more than three times over the legal limit for a prohibited drug.

Wilson was sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of causing death while driving without due care, while over the prescribed limit for drugs and while uninsured.

He was also banned from driving for six years upon his release, subject to an extended retest.


Sergeant Alan Hands, from West Midlands Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "This was such a deeply saddening loss of a talented young man, who was just about to start his second year studying for a degree in history at University College London.


“He left a grieving family including three younger brothers and our sympathies remain with them as, I hope, they can finally find some closure following the sentencing of Wilson."

A heartbreaking letter by Mr Heywood’s mother was left at the scene of the crash after his death in 2016.


It said: “I will pour all my love for you into your brothers and I hope I can ask you to watch over us all and tell me/show me when I am being silly or doing things wrong.

“My first baby, how I fell in love the first time I saw you, so deep in love.

“Wait for me, boy I will be with you again one day but I have a very important job to do first.

“I hope you can understand. Mom, M. O. M. xxx”

Mr Heywood's family described him as an ‘endlessly kind young man and a much-loved son, brother and grandson’.

They released a picture of the Arsenal fan at Wembley with his brothers, supporting the team at the 2014 FA Cup final.

In a statement they said: “He had so much to live for and was looking forward to his second year studying for a degree in history at University College London. He was in particular a big brother to Beau, Ben and Max.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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