Driver, 22, who mowed down and killed cyclist, 15, jailed three years

Driver, 22, who mowed down and killed cyclist, 15, jailed three years

August 23, 2021

Speeding driver, 22, who mowed down and killed cyclist, 15, in hit-and-run crash is jailed for more than three years

  • Leo Meek, 22, hit Jack Jones, 15, while driving a Volkswagen Tiguan in Wirral 
  • Jack was left with fatal head and neck injuries after he was hit by speeding car
  • Meek fled the scene and didn’t even apply his brakes, driving 55mph in a 30mph
  • Sentenced to three years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday 

A speeding driver who fled the scene after mowing down and killing a 15-year-old boy riding his bike has been jailed for three years and four months.

Leo Meek, 22, hit Jack Jones while driving a Volkswagen Tiguan on Manor Drive, Wirral, at around 9.40pm on April 26 this year.

The 15-year-old from Moreton, Wirral, had been cycling the familiar route to his aunt’s house after spending the evening watching a film with his little brother.

Meek left Jack with fatal head and neck injuries while speeding at between 53 and 55mph on the 30mph residential road.

He then fled the scene, and didn’t even apply his brakes, ditching his friend’s dad’s car and getting a taxi home, where he went to bed.

Leo Meek, 22, (pictured) has been jailed for three more than three years after he hit Jack Jones while driving a Volkswagen Tiguan on Manor Drive, Wirral, at around 9.40pm on April 26 this year

Peter Hussey, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, said Jack was riding a yellow and white Carrera bicycle on Manor Drive while at the same time a private hire car was driving southward.

The private hire driver passed Jack on the opposite side of the road moments before he was struck by the Volkswagen which was ‘driven at speed by the defendant’.

Mr Hussey said: ‘It is unlikely Jack knew what happened.’ He added that Jack was given ‘little if any room’ and there was ‘inevitable danger of collision’.

Mr Hussey said despite the shocking impact and obvious nature of the collision Meek ‘carried on driving at speed’ and abandoned the car two miles away in the Moreton area. 

It was later reported to police after a milkman found it on Ely Avenue with damage to the nearside wing, bonnet, windscreen and roof.

He added the car had continued without stopping or even braking, according to a witness.

Meek left Jack (pictured) with fatal head and neck injuries while speeding at between 53 and 55mph on the 30mph residential road

Meek arrived at his Moreton home three hours later at 12.50am the next day and ‘went to bed’ but at ‘no stage did he report the collision to the police or even the ambulance service’.

Mr Hussey said at the time of the crash the street, which is ‘effectively straight throughout’ was ‘well lit’ and the road was dry.

He said Jack, who ‘liked peace and quiet’, lived with his family not far from the scene of the collision and often went to his aunt’s house.

Mr Hussey said: ‘On April 26 he had been at his home from late afternoon with friends and was watching a film on TV with his brother.

‘At around 9.35pm he left on his bicycle to ride to his aunt’s where he was going to stay overnight.’

He took his usual route north on Manor Drive and at the time was wearing black and grey clothing on his bicycle, which didn’t have either lights or reflectors.

However, taxi driver Paul Stobbart, said he was able to see Jack approaching on the opposite side of the road.

Mr Stobbart said he ‘heard a bang’ and ‘saw the cyclist in the air’.

He turned his taxi around and stopped in the road with his hazard lights on to help the young victim.

A resident of the street who was in his car on his drive at the time ‘heard the sound of the collision’ and saw the car ‘flash past’ and called 999.

Other residents of the street who heard the crash also rushed to Jack’s aid and ‘a number of people did their best to help Jack who was unconscious and badly injured’.

Mr Hussey said a passing police officer attempted to resuscitate Jack and an ambulance arrived and took him to Arrowe Park Hospital.

Hundreds of bikers and pupils from Woodchurch High School attended the funeral procession for Jack Jones (pictured)

He said Jack’s mum, Margorie, saw a Facebook alert about a collision on Manor Drive.

He said: ‘She knew Jack might be on that road and began calling his mobile phone. She got no reply.’

Mr Hussey said she then drove to Manor Drive ‘just in case’ and was taken to the hospital shortly after midnight and ‘later the next morning Jack passed away as a result of severe injuries’.

Police discovered Meek was insured for 48 hours on the car which was registered to his friend’s dad, who he had been holidaying with in North Wales before returning to care for a dog.

He admitted failing to stop at the scene of the collision and causing death by dangerous driving.

Bernice Campbell, defending, said it was a ‘truly awful, sad case’.

In a letter to the judge, Meek wrote he accepted ‘full responsibility’ and said there was ‘no excuse’ for the harm he had caused.

He told the judge he ‘panicked’ and said he was a newly qualified driver.

Ms Campbell, reading the letter said: ‘I found it hard to come to terms with the harsh reality that Jack lost his life solely through my actions.’

The 15-year-old from Moreton, Wirral, had been cycling the familiar route to his aunt’s house after spending the evening watching a film with his little brother

He said: ‘I will never be able to run away from what I have done.

‘I understand I’m going to receive a lengthy sentence. That is the least I deserve as no amount of time will change what has happened for the Jones family.’

Ms Campbell asked the judge to take into account Meek’s guilty plea and that this would be his first period of imprisonment.

She said Meek, of West Way, Moreton, had been ‘adamant he didn’t see the victim’.

After the crash Ms Campbell said Meek ‘did the despicable thing of drive away leaving Jack’ because he was ‘frightened and scared’.

The court heard Meek’s mum, Paula Meek, described him as ‘remorseful and devastated’ after she saw him in custody, adding that what happened was ‘out of character’.

Meek has eight previous convictions including in March 2018 being the passenger in a car which was driven dangerously.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, sentencing, said: ‘It is not altogether clear why this collision occurred.

‘The most likely explanation is you simply gave him little or no room as you were overtaking him.

‘A private hire vehicle just passed Jack, rather than pause to allow it to pass you attempted to squeeze through the gap.’

Judge Menary said: ‘This was very bad driving in any view and Jack and his family have paid a terrible price.’

The judge said the CCTV showed the car travelling at a ‘truly shocking’ speed.

Judge Menary said: ‘Without intending to be overdramatic your car effectively took out that young cyclist.’

The judge said: ‘The cause of this collision is you quite deliberately failing to slow for the oncoming vehicle.’

The judge said his failure to stop was ‘cowardly and callous’ adding ‘you were then only concerned about yourself’.

Judge Menary said: ‘Jack was obviously a delightful young man with everything to look forward to.

‘His mum and uncle both speak of the promises and potential he had, the hopes and dreams which now will never be realised because of the manner of your driving that night.’

The judge said Jack was ‘plainly loved very much’ and the ‘lives of his family have been devastated’ by his loss.

Speaking to Meek the judge said: ‘I accept you didn’t in any way intend to cause anyone harm that night.’

The judge found the case to fall ‘somewhere towards the bottom’ of level two in the sentencing guidelines, the starting point for which is five years with a range of between four and seven years.

Judge Menary said a pre-sentence report described him as ‘somewhat immature’ and noted he was a ‘relatively new driver with limited experience’.

Judge Menary jailed Meek for three years and four months, which was reduced from five years to reflect his guilty plea.

He was disqualified from driving for three years from the date of his release.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Drew said: ‘No sentence can repair the devastation of what happened but we hope that today’s sentencing can at least provide some comfort to Jack’s family and friends.

‘I hope Meek’s sentence gives him time to reflect on the consequences of his actions.

‘I would also like to pay tribute to Jack’s family for the courage and dignity they have shown throughout this process, and also to the team of officers who brought Meek to justice so swiftly.

‘At Merseyside Police our priority is to keep our communities safe and to prosecute any driver who puts the lives of others at risk.

‘Every fatal collision impacts upon the lives of so many people, and we’re committed to reducing such incidents and putting those who drive dangerously before the courts.’

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