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Hit-and-run driver who killed father and son as they cycled together jailed for 12 years

Paul Yates overtook another vehicle and lost control, killing Dean Jones and his 16-year-old son, the driver walking over to the critically injured cyclists before fleeing the scene and causing another collision a short time later

An uninsured hit-and-run driver who only held a provisional driving licence has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for causing two deaths by dangerous driving, a father and son out cycling when they were fatally hit by the driver who police say showed a "lack of respect and remorse" in initially walking over to the criticially injured cyclists before getting back in his badly damaged car and fleeing the scene, causing a second collision a short time later.

Paul Yates killed Dean Jones, 44, and his 16-year-old son Lewis Daines as they were cycling on Royston Road in Barnsley at around 9pm on Friday 20 January 2023. He also injured a woman and her children in a second collision a short time later as he fled the scene of the fatal crash.

South Yorkshire Police said Yates made a "devastating decision" to drive his car after an evening socialising and drinking in Barnsley and he attempted to overtake a vehicle on a single-carriageway route when he lost control and left the road, hitting the father and son at speed as they cycled along Royston Road.

While the pair were critically injured on the ground, Yates got out of his car and walked over before returning to his vehicle and fleeing the scene. While the father and son were helped by witnesses, CCTV footage showed Yates driving away in his badly damaged Volkswagen Golf. At one point, the dangerous driver stopped to put down the damaged bonnet which kept flying up and blocking his view.

Dangerous driver Paul Yates jailed for killing father and son (South Yorkshire Police)

Yates then caused a collision with another vehicle, driving into the back of a car being driven by a woman who was travelling with her children, the kids described as having been injured, frightened and shocked by the incident, Yates again fleeing the scene.

Dangerous driver Paul Yates jailed for killing father and son (South Yorkshire Police)
Dangerous driver Paul Yates jailed for killing father and son (South Yorkshire Police)

An appeal was launched and he was arrested following 11 days on the run. Because Yates fled the scene on the night of the collisions, police were unable to test the driver for alcohol in his system, but South Yorkshire Police said their investigation led them to "discover that he had been drinking prior".

Due to the extent of CCTV evidence, South Yorkshire Police believe Yates was given "no option but to plead guilty" and he was, last Monday, jailed for 12 years for causing the deaths by dangerous driving and a separate count of dangerous driving. Yates has also been disqualified from driving for 13 years.

Lead Investigating Officer, Sergeant John Taylor from the Serious Collisions Unit, said: "Throughout this investigation, Dean, Lewis and their family have remained at the heart of our inquiry, alongside ensuring Yates cannot cause any further harm to our communities. 

"Following the collision, witnesses helped us to identify Yates and confirm his involvement, with extensive enquiries leading us to discover that he was travelling more than the 30mph limit, and had been drinking prior. This helped us build a strong case against him and ensure he was brought before the courts.

"Our thoughts remain with Dean and Lewis' family. As their heartache continues, they have showed immense strength in supporting us to bring Yates to justice.  Thankfully, the occupants of the Volkswagen Tiguan were not serious injured during the collision.

"Yates' decisions on that evening has left a family without two of their loved ones. I am glad his sentence reflects his poor actions. Dean and Lewis lost their lives and Yates has now lost his freedom for some considerable time. His children and family will also be affected because of his actions on that night."

Dangerous driver Paul Yates jailed for killing father and son (South Yorkshire Police)

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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28 comments

Avatar
polainm | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

This is why 'taxing', insuring and having licence plates on bicycles is such a good idea*, as the persecuted motorists have this burden, that entitles them to drive and park how they like, coupled with new legislation for death by dangerous operation of a 15kg machine travelling at 15kmh.

*to only Daily Mail and IDS institutions. 

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OldRidgeback | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

What a useless waste of oxygen this bloke is. He should never be allowed behind the wheel of a motor vehicle again. My condolences to the family of his victims. What an appalling case.

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BobJackson | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

Maybe there should be another bill, requiring a separate offence, of, leaving the scene of an accident before the emergency services arrive.

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brooksby replied to BobJackson | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Isn't there already something for "leaving the scene of a collision"?

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

brooksby wrote:

Isn't there already something for "leaving the scene of a collision"?

There is but it doesn't contain any obligation to call emergency services or wait for them, it only has an obligation to provide your details when requested and to report to the police (in the event of injuries being sustained) within 24 hours. Obviously this p.o.s. was guilty of that but presumably they didn't bother charging it as it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the apallingly serious main charges. What we should have is a legal requirement to render assistance to persons in difficulty (and not just for the person who inflicted their injuries), to summon emergency services and wait for their arrival; many other countries have such laws, often called "Good Samaritan laws", which not only impose such an obligation but also provide indemnity for any consequences of rendering assistance in good faith. It doesn't seem to apply in this case, as bystanders seem to have rendered assistance immediately, but it would surely be just also to have a provision that if a person dies and it's determined that they could have survived with more prompt assistance then the person who failed to provide this or call emergency services should also be charged with their manslaughter at least.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rendel Harris | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

"Good Samaritan laws", 

I thought this refered to not prosecuting someone for injuries sustained in an attempt to save someones life. i.e aggrvating breaks when rmoving someone from a hazard, or injuries sustained during CPR.

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Rendel Harris replied to wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:

Rendel Harris wrote:

"Good Samaritan laws", 

I thought this refered to not prosecuting someone for injuries sustained in an attempt to save someones life. i.e aggrvating breaks when rmoving someone from a hazard, or injuries sustained during CPR.

In some countries, e.g. Australia, the "good Samaritan law" only applies to removing liability for potential harm done in good faith whilst trying to assist, in others such as France and Germany it combines a legal duty to render assistance with protection from liability whilst doing so.

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OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

S170 of the RTA requires drivers to "stop" if there is a collision that causes injury or damage. Drivers must also either provide details at the scene "if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring" or, if they don't provide details to anyone, for whatever reason, to report the incident to a police station.

The RTA doesn't state how long drivers are required to stop for - the inference is that the driver should stop for long enough for other people involved to have the opportunity to request the driver's details, but this isn't explicit in the legistlation.

Beyond that, as far as I am aware, in the UK there is no obligation to render aid, call an ambulance etc. Possibly in the civil courts, failure to do so could be considered negligence (all road users have a general duty of care to one another), and in the criminal courts it could be considered an aggrevating factor when it comes to sentencing, but there is no separate offence.

I seem to recall various incidents where vulnerable road users (cyclists or motorcyclists) have been left dead or seriously injured following a collison and not found until hours or even days later. Each time, there is a call for stronger legislation on this front.

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wycombewheeler replied to OnYerBike | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

OnYerBike wrote:

I seem to recall various incidents where vulnerable road users (cyclists or motorcyclists) have been left dead or seriously injured following a collison and not found until hours or even days later. Each time, there is a call for stronger legislation on this front.

I think this should be a much higher priority than dangerous cycling laws. It's probably more cases and it's definitely more likely to save a life.

No one intends to injure or kill people, yes they drive dangerously, but they think they'll get away with it (as in not have a collision). So tougher sentances for the crashes that people already don't want to have is not going to change behaviour Wheras leaving someone injured in the road is a deliberate choice, so tougher sentances for that might well give people cause to stop and think.

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EK Spinner | 3 weeks ago
13 likes

He doesn't have a driving licence, why is he given the "privlege" of  death by dangerous driving charge rather than simply manslaughter because that is what this is

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hawkinspeter replied to EK Spinner | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

EK Spinner wrote:

He doesn't have a driving licence, why is he given the "privlege" of  death by dangerous driving charge rather than simply manslaughter because that is what this is

It's just easier to prosecute

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/road-traffic-fatal-offences-and-bad-driving

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cyclisto | 3 weeks ago
13 likes

This is not just a driving fail, there are so many fails, so well documented. I wouldn't allow him get behind a steering wheel for life, there are plenty of professions that you can do them without a car.

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JLasTSR replied to cyclisto | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

I agree he should never be allowed to drive again.
As he did not have a full licence he already doesn't care about having a licence and is happy to drive without that or insurance. With people like this I cannot see how you can stop them from ever driving again, because they are happy to risk everyone's life for their own convenience.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to JLasTSR | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

JLasTSR wrote:

I agree he should never be allowed to drive again. ....

I agree he should never be allowed to drive breathe again.

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EK Spinner replied to JLasTSR | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

The only way to stop the like of this driving again is for driving bans to be a suspended sentence of the same length as the ban, caught driving at any time during your 5 year ban - spend 5 years in jail, so a life time ban means they risk a life sentence

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Owd Big 'Ead | 3 weeks ago
20 likes

Hmm.....
12 years for killing two innocent people, probably let out after 6 years if he behaves inside.
Hardly justice is it?
What a crock of shit our driving laws are, but at least Starmer is determined that cyclists will feel the long arm of the law should Labour win the general election.
You couldn't make it up.

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JLasTSR replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Manslaughter sentences are apparently 10 years or thereabouts. They can be much higher but it is not usual. So 12 years is to be expected. Let's hope they forget where they put the key.

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HLaB replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Whilst I agree with you, thats scarilly thats a 'harsh' sentence compared with a few years back.  It seemed to me that crimes like that not long ago were 'punished' with a 6 months suspended sentence and a 2year driving ban (reduced to 6months because of 'extreme hardship'  7

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wtjs | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

Good work by South Yorkshre police. Meanwhile, in Lancashire, the police are 'relaxed' (I think that's the modern idiom for can't be arsed, or for taking unofficial payments for looking the other way) about WT16 ATX, last seen yesterday evening during the Garstang Bank Holiday children's parades- first reported in December 22 for No MOT and no VED. The most recent offences were reported on 17.4.24

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Patrick9-32 replied to wtjs | 3 weeks ago
1 like

wtjs wrote:

Good work by South Yorkshre police. Meanwhile, in Lancashire, the police are 'relaxed' (I think that's the modern idiom for can't be arsed, or for taking unofficial payments for looking the other way) about WT16 ATX, last seen yesterday evening during the Garstang Bank Holiday children's parades- first reported in December 22 for No MOT and no VED. The most recent offences were reported on 17.4.24

I genuinely don't understand how these people get away with it? My motorbike sat unridden in my garage for a month while I got an MOT sorted for it and I just let the tax lapse rather than sorn it because I was going to get it sorted quickly. I got a £40 fine immediately. (which I paid)

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wtjs replied to Patrick9-32 | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

I genuinely don't understand how these people get away with it? 

You don't live in Lancashire under the regime of the most bent and hopelessly inept police force in the UK, do you?! (I hope they are anyway, because if they're not some people elsewhere are really suffering, and the crims are having the time of their lives). In this single photo, outside the Eagle and Child, Garstang are HY66 ZZB (no VED for almost 5 years, first reported to the police March 22 and regularly seen around Garstang) and WU59 UMH (no VED for 6 1/2 years, and previously reported numerous times for no MOT for over 6 years- first reported to LancsIdlers by me July 23)

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wtjs replied to Patrick9-32 | 3 weeks ago
1 like

I just let the tax lapse rather than sorn it because I was going to get it sorted quickly. I got a £40 fine immediately. (which I paid)

You need to move to Lancashire if you're thinking of a life as a road traffic offender

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NotNigel | 3 weeks ago
20 likes

'Yates' decisions on that evening has left a family without two of their loved ones. I am glad his sentence reflects his poor actions...'

I'm pretty sure a harsher sentence would have reflected his 'poor actions' more...fucking scumbag.

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Simon E replied to NotNigel | 3 weeks ago
25 likes

Needs a 10 year ban (commencing after release), with immediate custodial sentence if breached.

Isn't it interesting how these killer drivers never get a similar front page splash as those 52mph fake 'cyclists' by the Telegraph last week; nor do they attract the wrath of the bereaved and a long-running high profile campaign like the one by the husband of Kim Briggs, who stepped out into the path of a cyclist.

And where are the opportunist MPs calling for new laws when horrific things like this happen to 1700 families year after year after year?

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jaymack replied to Simon E | 3 weeks ago
15 likes

Where are the MPs calling for new laws when horrific things like this happen? Nowhere 'cos they don't fuc&ing care.

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kingleo replied to jaymack | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

There will not be new laws to try and stop this happening because the Tories are on the side of motorists and against cyclists.

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eburtthebike replied to jaymack | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

jaymack wrote:

Where are the MPs calling for new laws when horrific things like this happen? Nowhere 'cos they don't fuc&ing care.

Nowhere because they know a new law wouldn't stop it.

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brooksby replied to jaymack | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

In all fairness they don't care about the pedestrians being hit by cyclists, either.

It's just that they can weaponise those incidents as part of the so-called culture wars (cyclists are all left-wing, Guardian-reading, tofu eating wokerati, IIRC).

They can't weaponise an incident like this since motorists are the norm rather than an out-group.  THAT is why they don't bother.

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