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A SPEEDING black cab driver has received a suspended jail sentence after he knocked down and killed an Eltham father in front of his daughter as he celebrated his birthday.

The Old Bailey heard that Christopher Jones (56) knocked down Steven Beard (40) as he crossed Rochester Way in Eltham, South London, in the early hours of 8 November 2015.

Prosecution counsel Charlotte Newell said Mr Beard’s daughter, who is in her 20s, had been out celebrating her father’s birthday when she saw him killed in front of her.

The jury was told that Mr Beard was walking across Rochester Way when Jones’s taxi crashed into him, sending him flying over the bonnet.

The court heard that Jones, of Glenesk Road, Eltham was on his way to work and according to police forensic specialists, was speeding at 40mph in a 30mph zone at the time of the incident.

Accident investigators calculated that Mr Beard would have been visible on the well-lit street for seven seconds before he was hit.

The court heard that Jones had already received nine penalty points on his driving licence over a period of five months and had not told the DVLA he was diabetic.

30mph-signThe taxi driver received three points for speeding in a 30mph zone on 26 June 2015 and was given three more points for the same offence the next month.

On 11 September 2015 Jones was given three more points for, “failing to comply with traffic lights”.

Mitigating, Jones’s defence barrister said the taxi driver was, “visibly shaken and distraught” by what had happened and wanted to offer his sincere condolences to the bereaved family.

A victim impact statement released said the whole family had been left devastated by the death of Mr Beard.

Judge Christopher Moss QC sentenced Jones to two years in prison, suspended for two years and disqualified him from driving for five years and said:

You don’t need a lecture from me. You know perfectly well that if you had been concentrating, Mr Beard would not have died. You were driving over the speed limit, although not hugely. Had you been concentrating and driving carefully, you would have seen Mr Beard and this tragedy would not have occurred.

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PHC Magazine

PHC Magazine