Jail for driver in Northampton hit-and-run case who 'did not realise' he had run over father-of-three

The collision took place at 4.10am on Sunday, June 11 at the junction of Black Lion Hill and St Andrews Road.
The collision took place at 4.10am on Sunday, June 11 at the junction of Black Lion Hill and St Andrews Road.

An illegal taxi driver who ran over and killed a father-of-three in Northampton without stopping has been jailed.

Jonathan Cowling, from Northampton, told police he “did not realise what had happened” when he drove over the 42-year-old victim in July 2017.

He denied the charge of death by careless driving for a year. But Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (September 4) that when faced with the evidence, the 60-year-old pleaded guilty to the killing.

The victim - whose family has asked not to be named - had been crossing St Andrews Road at the junction with Black Lion Hill at around 4.10am when he was pulled under Cowling's vehicle as the driver made a left-hand turn.

Cowling later told police he thought the pedestrian was shouting at him and attacking his vehicle. He claimed was not aware anything had happened and drove away from the scene without stopping.

The court also heard how Cowling had been driving an uninsured Ford Tourneo he was illegally using as a private hire vehicle at the time. His driving licence was also invalid.

In a victim impact statement, the victim's sister told police: "The news crushed me completely. He was my only sibling in the UK. It has been a great loss for my family.

"He meant the world to me. He was a great dad. He was my best friend. Sometimes I just burst into tears and cannot stop."

Cowling's defence barrister told the court his client had shown "genuine, sincere remorse and regret". Evidence also showed Cowling had been driving at "a very slow speed" at the time of the collision.

However, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo told Cowling: "Any normal or competent driver would have stopped, whatever the circumstances. But you failed to do so.

“[I have heard of] the pain that the family of [the victim] has experienced because of your failure to acknowledge your guilt... I think it’s often ignored by courts just how badly the failure of someone to admit their guilt affects those connected to those killed as a result of criminal offending.

"With this sentence, I am not in any way trying to put a value on the life of [the victim], who tragically lost his life through no fault of his own. The court has every sympathy for his family."

Cowling was jailed for 18 months and was disqualified from driving for the same period.