A 33-year-old Leek man was sentenced to more than six years in prison after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
David Leather, from Warrington Drive in Leek had pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing and appeared at Chester Crown Court today (Monday 7 January) to be sentenced to six years and nine months in prison. He was also banned from driving for eight years.
Shortly after midnight on 21 October 2017, cyclist Steven Farrish, 49, from Gawsworth was cycling home alone after a night out in Macclesfield with friends. He was wearing a high visibility garment and his bike was fitted with a flashing rear light. As he was riding along London Road, Lyme Green, David Leather, driving an orange Ford Ranger, collided with him. Leather continued his journey leaving Steven with injuries which sadly proved fatal.
Leather abandoned his car some distance away and picked it up later, before reporting to police that he may have collided with a deer.
Extensive investigations showed that Leather had been drinking alcohol throughout the previous evening.
Prosecutor Maria Masselis said: “The defendant was driving home on a straight stretch of the A523 when he noticed he had struck something, what he thought to be a deer, but didn’t see that a cycle was attached to his vehicle.
“The road had a 50mph speed limit and he was driving at around 60mph. He had been drinking between 4pm and midnight.
“He first visited the Mulberry Leaves, in Leek, for two hours and then drove home to pick up his partner and drove to Macclesfield and visited three other places.
“He first visited Revolution by 10pm and his first round consisted of four cocktails and the second round a pint of Peroni. They then went on to Rumba where they ordered a cocktail and left shortly afterwards. At midnight they went to a nightclub – Fever & Boutique – and ordered two double gin and tonics and were seen walking back to the defendant’s vehicle in Macclesfield town centre.
“It is estimated that he would have been twice the legal drink-drive limit and that Mr Farrish would have been visible for between 12 and 15 seconds.”
The court heard the businessman has two previous convictions for driving offences, including drink-driving in January 2015.
Bob Sastry, mitigating, said Leather wished to extend his remorse to Steven’s family.
He said: “Mr Leather wishes to extend through me his profound remorse to the family of Mr Farrish. The incident is only down to him and his extremely bad choice to go behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
“He can’t explain why he didn’t see Steven on a dark and straight road. He is a hard-working man, he’s a partner in his building firm and employees 15 members of staff.”
Judge Steven Everett told Leather: “You drank and drove twice. You had four pints and more before you went home to pick up your partner. That didn’t stop you going back out again and carrying on drinking.”
PC Iain Condliffe said: “Leather left Steven dying in the road and immediately attempted to cover his tracks and then claim that he had collided with a deer. His actions were callous and calculating and he is now facing the consequences. While this result will not bring Steven back, I hope it will help his family and friends in some way to come to terms with this terrible tragedy.”