A Gloucester man has been jailed for 11 years after entering a last-minute guilty plea at Bristol Crown Court today to a range of offences mainly related to the hit-and-run killing last September of cyclist Alan Knight.
Tykeran Hamilton, aged 24 changed his plea this morning as his trial was due to start. He had been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, causing death while driving in an uninsured vehicle, causing death while driving an unlicensed vehicle and failure to stop, reports BBC News.
He has been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for those offences, and will also serve a separate one year term, consecutively, relating to earlier charges relating to drugs, plus a six-month concurrent sentence for possession of an offensive weapon.
While the criminal justice system in England & Wales does not have the same type of institionalised plea bargaining system common in the United States, a guilty plea is often a mitigating factor in sentencing, and a last-minute change of plea may follow advice of defence counsel to admit the offence in the hope of securing a lesser penalty.
Mr Knight, aged 64, was killed on Gloucester’s Stroud Road last September as he rode his bike on his paper round, an activity his family said had “kept him fit and active” in the four years he had been doing it.
The court heard that Hamilton was driving a BMW at speeds in excess of 70mph when the fatal crash happened, and that beforehand he had been taking cocaine and drinking vodka. He fled the scene and remained at large for a month before police arrested him.
According to the Western Daily Press, Judge Graham Cottle told Hamilton: "In the early hours of the morning of September 26 Mr Knight was doing a paper round on his bicycle.
"What had you been doing for the past 12 hours? The evidence paints a picture of you spending a night drinking, taking cocaine.
"You were an uninsured driver, you were unlicensed. You went to a garage and as it happened you saw somebody nearby who you knew.
"You said 'watch this'. The inference that can be drawn from that statement is that you attempted to show off to him what this car could do.
"You took off up the road at around 60-70mph. You were overtaking recklessly and just managed to avoid colliding with a central island.
"You drove straight into Mr Knight, doubtless killing him instantly" he added. "You left him in the road and you drove off at equally high speed."
A victim impact statement was read out to the court on behalf of Mr Kinight's widow, Linda, who wrote: "My life just isn't the same since he was taken from us by such a show-off person like you, Mr Hamilton.
"Alan was a great husband, father and grandfather. We didn't want for anything. If we needed the moon he would get us the stars as well."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.