Family of Dunmow man whose death was caused by dangerous driver are ‘disappointed’ with length of jail sentence
- Credit: Archant
A motorist who caused the death of a Dunmow grandfather by driving dangerously on the M11 has been jailed for more than four years.
The family of Steve Lord, who died on January 16 after coming off his motorbike, have expressed disappointment at the length of sentence handed out to Daniel Tilley, 38, who was sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment today (September 26) at Chelmsford Crown Court.
On September 4, Tilley, of Joyners Field, Harlow, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report to the police within 24 hours.
Peter Gare, for the prosecution, told the court that Mr Lord, 63, was travelling on the southbound stretch of the motorway towards London, between Harlow and Stansted, when at about 5am, Tilley, travelling in the same lane, attempted to undertake Mr Lord, "effectively pushing" the motorcyclist, who lost control of his of his bike and fell on the carriageway. He was certified dead within the hour by paramedics, Mr Gare said.
Tilley did not stop at the scene but was tracked down by police and arrested the next day after "very detailed" and "extensive" enquires.
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When his mobile phone was forensically examined it was found he had carried out a number of web searches, which he had deleted, for information and news articles about the collision as well as for strong suction plungers which police officers suspected he was aiming to use to fix his damaged car door.
GPS data from his car showed he was travelling at more than 100mph shortly after the time of the collision. It also indicated he stopped at the top of the exit slip road at junction seven and opened his door briefly before driving off. Officers believe this was to check the damage on his rear passenger door.
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During his initial interview, Tilley told officers he had a "momentary lapse of concentration that caused me to swerve from the outside lane into the inside lane" but denied any knowledge of hitting anyone.
In a statement following sentencing, Mr Lord's family said: "Steve was a wonderful husband, dad, grandad, brother, uncle, and friend.
"The grief and heartbreak we feel is unbearable and near impossible to describe.
"His warmth, character and with made him excellent company. He was a ferociously good story teller and would often have us doubled over in hysterics.
"He loved his grandchildren and made sure he kept fit and healthy to spend more time with them.
"He was looking forward to walking his youngest daughter down the aisle, and having a long and happy retirement with his wife. All that has been taken away.
"Daniel Tilley had a choice. He could have stopped to help Steve, he could have called an ambulance, he could have admitted what he had done.
"He did none of these things and only admitted what he had done when it benefitted him to do so. As a family we did not get the same choices but have to live with the consequences. And we have to live with them without knowing why Tilley did what he did.
"As a family we want to express our disappointment that Daniel Tilley could not be sentenced for longer within the sentencing guidelines.
"He has taken Steve away but will serve less than five years in prison. We will be writing to our MP and adding our voice to the countless others who feel the sentencing guidelines do not reflect the devastating impact crimes of this nature have."
Senior investigating officer Inspector Rob Brettell, from the serious collision investigation unit, said: "Daniel Tilley not only caused Steve Lord's death but then drove off and took steps to cover it up.
"It took some exemplary police work to identify the car involved, trace it, and gather evidence so strong it left Tilley with no option but to plead guilty.
"When we arrived at the scene we had few witnesses and the car involved had driven off. It is testimony to the exceptional knowledge of my team that we were able to identify the type of car involved solely by its tail lights.
"It then took excellent detective work to narrow the number of possible vehicles from 5,000 to 50 and then to Tilley's.
"In less than a day-and-a-half we went from no witnesses on a pitch black morning to the culprit being in custody.
"When there are serious collisions on our roads we only get one chance to collect the evidence needed to get justice for someone's family so it's really important we get it right.
"Daniel Tilley will now spend years behind bars and I hope he uses that time to contemplate his actions."
Judge Jonathan Seely sentenced Tilley to 54 months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, and six month in total for failing to stop and not reporting to the police, to run concurrently. He was also disqualified from driving for 57 months and ordered to pay a surchage of £170.