A DRIVER has been jailed for killing a pensioner and seriously injuring his wife before hiding from police in the woods.
Tony Owens was driving at 100mph on the M42 when he hit Cathryn and Raymond Goode’s car from behind with such force that Mr Goode was thrown from the vehicle despite him wearing a seatbelt.
But as the 83-year-old lay dying in the road and his wife Cathryn was suffering from life-changing injuries, the cowardly driver who had hit them fled from the scene.
Owens hid in nearby woodland until the next day, and when he handed himself in after washing and changing, he tried to blame Mrs Goode, then aged 74, for the crash.
Owens, aged 37, formerly of Charlbury Avenue, Fordbridge, then pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to causing Mr Goode’s death in August 2017 and Mrs Goode’s serious injury by dangerous driving.
But after cynically indicating he would change his pleas and then changing his mind, he finally entered guilty pleas, and also admitted failing to stop and having no licence or insurance.
Owens, now of Westfield Avenue, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, was jailed for nine years and banned from driving for ten-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said the tragic collision took place at about 8.45pm on August 19, 2017, as the Goodes were travelling south on the M42 between junctions 11 and 10.
The couple, who lived in Spain but had previously run a hairdressing salon in Atherstone, were returning from there to Coventry, where they were staying with Mr Goode’s son, in a gold-coloured Vauxhall Agila being driven by Mrs Goode.
Owens, whose licence had been revoked on medical grounds, was going in the same direction in a Peugeot 307 and had overtaken other drivers at what some of them estimated to be 100mph.
With the Peugeot straddling two lanes, despite a last-second attempt to brake and swerve, it hit the Goodes’ car from behind with such force that the Agila was thrown into the air.
Mr Wilkins pointed out that in February that year Owens, who had convictions for driving with excess alcohol, had been spoken to after hitting a child while driving the same car, but had escaped prosecution because of an administrative error.
David Munro, defending, said: “In any case of this nature the damage that is caused will last for many, many years – and nothing the defendant can do or say at this stage can go very far to ease that. Whatever sentence is passed will not remedy the loss.
“His driving on the night in question cannot be excused, but it is hard to say over what period of time and what distance he drove at high speed, or what that speed was.
“This should simply not have happened. There must have been a complete failure to take notice of the Vauxhall in front of him, and when he did react, it was too little and too late.”
Jailing Owens, Judge Anthony Potter said: “It is a tragic feature of offences like this that there is nothing I can do that can possibly undo the harm the family of Mr Goode will continue to suffer for many years, and there is nothing you can do to undo the harm you did on that Saturday.
“Most people in the position you found yourself would have done what they could, however inadequate it might be, to try to attend to Mr and Mrs Goode. You did nothing.
“You ran away in a completely cowardly fashion from the location, and even hours later you were seeking to look after yourself with no apparent concern for Mr and Mrs Goode.
“It is an unpleasant feature that you cast aspersions on her driving, even though you must have known it was you, and you alone, who was responsible for her injuries and the death of her husband.”