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Retracted claim that victim had been doing a wheelie

Driving under the influence of alcohol and with drugs in his system, a Kent motorist hit and killed a cyclist but failed to stop, continuing on to another pub where he ordered a pint. Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court, Joseph Bills was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for causing death by dangerous driving. He was also disqualified from driving for 44 months.

The BBC reports that on March 10, 22-year-old Bills veered his Vauxhall Vivaro van onto the wrong side of Canterbury Road in Whitstable, hitting chef David Thorman head-on.

He had been in two pubs before the collision, drinking beer and Sambuca, and had also taken cocaine the night before.

Bills failed to stop and instead drove to the Rose in Bloom pub, where he arrived with glass in his hair. After ordering a pint, he initially claimed he had had a row with his girlfriend, but then told a friend he had hit a cyclist.

He returned to the crash scene and told police he was the driver involved.

He initially claimed Thorman had been pulling a wheelie in the moments before the crash, but later admitted the claim was false.

He also said he had been reaching down for a cigarette when the collision occurred – a comment he later retracted.

Defending, Phil Rowley said those who saw Bills immediately after the crash had said he was ‘panicked, confused and in a deep state of shock’ and that ‘he returned to the scene relatively quickly’.

Judge Rupert Lowe told Bills: "You drove away in a panic having no regard for the person you had hit. You lost concentration and allowed your van to veer across the road and straight into Mr Thorman's path. You should not have been behind the wheel of your van."

Bills pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving dangerously after the collision.

Speaking after the sentence was announced, investigating officer PC Mark Wooding said: “A judge can only sentence and deal with the law as it presents itself and based upon their judgement and how it fits with that. No sentence will ever compensate for the family’s loss."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

18 comments

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jasecd [503 posts] 2 months ago
24 likes

Try sticking a decade or two on that sentence and it might be somewhere approaching justice.

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hawkinspeter [1212 posts] 2 months ago
23 likes

Why not a lifetime driving ban?

I would have thought that killing someone and not stopping should be an automatic lifetime driving ban if only to protect other people.

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Woldsman [219 posts] 2 months ago
14 likes

He'll be out in time to enjoy a pint or three on summer days in 2019.  How is that justice?

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fenix [867 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

Ffs. Ridiculously light sentence.

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Yorkshire wallet [1635 posts] 2 months ago
17 likes

Judge says no sentence will compensate the family's loss.....so gives a really lenient sentence. Way to go dickhead.

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efail [111 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/kentish-gazette-canterbury-district/20170...

 

I think this judge has a little history for lenient sentences in Canterbury. (hope the link works)

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Housecathst [620 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

I’m surprised he pleaded guilty with a jury of Kent drivers I would have given his chances of being acquitted at about 50/50

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HalfWheeler [670 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

One for Jesse Norman;

https://twitter.com/Jesse_Norman

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cyclisto [349 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

I remember a story here in road.cc where a guy that was slapping women's asses while on bike he was sentenced in a life ban from cycling. I really cannot see the analogy here with this sentence...

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SculturaD [36 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

There is about 4 or 5 various charges there and he Should have received a lot more time than he did. Another joke of a sentence.

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Eton Rifle [48 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Seriously, what is the fucking point of even bothering to prosecute these killers? Pissed and drugged? Didn't stop? Repeatedly lied? And gets just over three years? He'll be out in a year or so with good behaviour.

Alfred Hitchcoxk was wasting his time with the plot of Strangers on a Train. Instead of persuading a stranger to murder his wife, the protagonist should have just done it himself with a fucking car.

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don simon [1715 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Quote:

Judge Rupert Lowe told Bills: "You drove away in a panic having no regard for the person you had hit. You lost concentration and allowed your van to veer across the road and straight into Mr Thorman's path. You should not have been behind the wheel of your van."

Not saying it's the case here, but I see on practically a daily basis, drivers using their vehicles to dish out some sort of punishment to others. No ones going to admit that in court though. The judge is a prick for this statement.

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tsarouxaz [90 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

FOUR YEARS!!??? HE FUCKING KILLED SOMEONE!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!!??

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oldstrath [931 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
HalfWheeler wrote:

One for Jesse Norman;

https://twitter.com/Jesse_Norman

Which he will ignore, because the Daily Mail haven't complained, there isn't some plsusible hypocritical gobshite flogging himself round all the news media demanding urgent action, and anyway, killer drivers are two a penny.

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kitsunegari [343 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

It's an appallingly light sentence, but in line with similar cases.

I'm looking forward to the Daily Mails article villifying drunk drivers, and Matthew Briggs using his new found celebrity to ask for better sentencing for drivers that kill.

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rkemb [53 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Where's the manslaughter charge, eh?

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RobD [550 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

I don't usually like to comment on these kind of stories but this is just ridiculous. He was over the limit, had cocaine in his system, hit someone on the other side of the road, and drove off for another drink, then lied about the circumstances repeatedly. I really don't know what you'd have to do to get say a 10 year sentence and further 10 year ban upon release. 

This wasn't a momentary lapse of concentration, or a slight misjudgement, he chose to drive when over the limit etc, how is that not a manslaughter charge? All those that keep bringing up the Charlie Alliston case for having a bike with no brakes therefore illegal, getting into a car/van when under the influence is equal (if not worse) than this. It really makes me sad that this has been treated so stupidly.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1149 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Alliston had a legally accepted brake (but was one short), Alliston slowed significantly, Alliston swerved to avoid the deceased, Alliston could not have stopped /avoided collision after the deceased stepped back into his path even with a front brake fitted.

This incident is NOTHING like the Charlie Alliston case where he was done up like a kipper, this scumbag deserves a life sentence, the judge deserves to be fed to a pack of Wolves for perpetuating the leniancy shown to motorists that kill and maim and thus put us all in danger.

The judge clearly ignored that the killer tried to pervert the course of justice, ignored that this case should have being manslaughter (why the fuck didn't the CPS press for manslaughter with death by dangerous as a back up???) this judge had the power to hand out a sentence in line with the charge to reflect the heinous nature and yet did fuck-all.

Judges are directly culpable as to how matters pan out for all of us.

and yet the first agenda in the review on safety of cyclists is deaths of pds by cyclists, FUCK OFF!!!!!