Nine years' jail for speeding driver who killed pedestrian while "off his nut" on drink and drugs

Nine years' jail for speeding driver who killed pedestrian while "off his nut" on drink and drugs

By Michael Upton | 25/03/2022

Nine years' jail for speeding driver who killed pedestrian while 'off his nut' on drink and drugs

 

A DANGEROUS driver who crashed into and killed a pedestrian while “off his nut” on drink and drugs has been jailed for nine years.

Unlicensed and uninsured Ben Archer (24, above left) was behind the wheel of his friend Adam Jeffries’ Ford Focus when it smashed into 30-year-old takeaway delivery driver Adam Cumpsty at twice the speed limit.

Collision investigators believe the Focus was travelling at 62mph when it hit Mr Cumpsty (pictured below) as he crossed Broad Street, Parkgate, at 10.20pm on April 19, 2019, causing him multiple injuries from which he died at the scene.

Mr Cumpsty’s wife Hayley, who was just yards away when her husband was knocked down, told Doncaster Crown Court today that she had lost everything when he died – “my husband, my best friend and myself”.

Jeffries (32, above right) tried to pin all the blame on Archer but was convicted by a jury last Thursday of aiding and abetting causing death by dangerous driving. He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

The court heard Archer and Jeffries – who fled the scene of the accident and dumped the Focus - had been drinking earlier in the day.

They had taken friends to Rother Valley Country Park, where they had finished two bottles of vodka, before carrying on boozing at the Tabard pub in Herringthorpe.

Mr Nick Adlington, prosecuting, said witnesses had described how Archer had said “I’m off my nut, me” in relation to having taken drugs and been drinking, while Jeffries had said he was “hammered”.

They had chased another car from the Eastwood area to Parkgate for up to four miles before the accident happened, Judge Roger Thomas said, adding that “at times it was bumper to bumper”.

Mr Dermot Hughes, mitigating for Archer, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, said Archer had lost his own father in traumatic circumstances and been left to his own devices, “at the mercy of his close friends – that’s how he became involved in criminality”.

He read a letter from Archer, in which the disgraced driver said: “Not a moment goes by when I don’t think about the victim and his family”, adding: “I wish that night had never happened. Hand on heart, I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused.”

Mr Hughes said the older Jeffries, of Pingles Crescent, Thrybergh, had exercised “power” over Archer “in a form of bullying”.

Archer had not admitted his guilt earlier or cooperated with the police because he feared Jeffries and his “wider circle”, said Mr Hughes.

Mr Kevin Jones, mitigating for Jeffries, said he was not a violent or aggressive man but admitted he was culpable for having encouraged Archer to drive, despite knowing he was not insured.

Judge Thomas highlighted how Archer, of Calladine Avenue, Swinton, had been on a suspended sentence order when the accident happened and how Jeffries had previous convictions for drink driving and driving while under the influence of drugs.

He noted how when Jeffries had been arrested, he had blamed Archer, while Archer had answered “No comment” when questioned, even though his blood had been found on an activated airbag in the dumped Focus.

Referring to Mrs Cumpsty’s victim impact statement, in which she paid tribute to her husband, the judge said it was clear Mr Cumpsty had been “the most decent of individuals”, who had worked full-time but taken on a second job delivering takeways to help support himself and his wife.

“She said they enjoyed the little things in life and were happiest in their little flat watching TV,” Judge Thomas said.

The judge said when Archer and Jeffries had spotted the BMW in Eastwood, Jeffries had been “provoking, ordering almost” Archer to set off after it in the Focus, which had just one working headlight.

What followed was “four miles of very bad, dangerous driving indeed,” he said.

The judge said Jeffries had a “very real and substantial responsibility”, although Archer had been driving.

But as Jeffries had been convicted after a trial while Archer had pleaded guilty, both were given the same sentence of eight-and-a-half years, with Archer handed six months extra for breaching a suspended sentence order.

Judge Thomas said no sentence could “properly reflect the loss of Mr Cumpsty’s life”.

Both defendants were also banned from driving for 15 years.

The judge also warned anyone found to have intimidated witnesses before or after the trial that they faced police action, after Mr Adlington said some threats had already been made.