Family anger at nine-month jail sentence imposed on hit and run driver

THE family of a man killed by a hit and run driver today (Friday February 15) spoke of their anger at the sentence imposed on the motorist responsible.

Pantelimon Iordache was jailed for nine months for leaving Dean Laing lying unconscious between cars at the side of the road after colliding with him on Claypath, Durham, early on Sunday, November 10.

Durham Crown Court heard that Mr Laing, 37, was walking home to nearby Gilesgate, following a night out in the city centre, when the collision took place, at about 2.40am.

David Wilkinson, prosecuting, said a passing taxi driver, heading down Claypath, saw Mr Laing walking close to cars parked at the side of the road, eating chips.

Mr Wilkinson said the taxi driver estimated the Vauxhall Astra, driven by Iordache, was travelling at between 40 and 50-miles per hour on the 30-limit road approaching Mr Laing.

“The taxi driver saw the front passenger side of the Astra collide with Mr Laing, causing him to be thrown into the air and collide with a car parked at the side of the road.

“He then saw the defendant’s vehicle brake and slow down, before speeding away to Gilesgate roundabout at the top of the street.”

Mr Laing was confirmed dead, from head injuries, en route to hospital.

Police were informed of a damaged Vauxhall Astra parked in a back lane in Bearpark, near Durham, late on the Sunday night.

While police were at the scene, Iordache, 37, of nearby South View, approached and claimed to have been involved in a collision with a deer that evening.

He was arrested and initially maintained that story in interview, but he subsequently admitted causing death by careless driving and failing to stop after an accident.

The prosecution accepted those pleas and a formal ‘not guilty’ verdict was recorded on the original charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

David Callan, mitigating, said Iordache, a Romanian national lawfully in the country, was working as a chef at a Lanchester restaurant.

He said on the night of the incident Iordache drank two bottles of lager, visiting a snooker club and pub in Durham.

The court heard he has a previous conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol while living in Virgina, USA, in October 2004.

Passing the nine-month term of imprisonment, Recorder Simon Brown said, given the recommended guidelines and ‘credit’ for the guilty pleas, he was restricted in the sentence he could impose.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Laing’s uncle, Michael Winter, who was among a large family gathering at court, said: “Where is the justice in that?

“They say the sentence can go from six to nine months up to five years. What do you have to do to get five years, come back and reverse over him?"

He said Mr Laing, a former boxer, was a larger than life, popular character.

The keen runner and cyclist, who previously rode the length of the country and back for charity, lived with his father, David, in Gilesgate.

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Comments (5)

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4:11am Sat 16 Feb 13

stevegg says...

Another travesty of justice by this countries pathetic justice system. No wonder the public are totally disilliusioned by the judicial system and this case proves it.
Another travesty of justice by this countries pathetic justice system. No wonder the public are totally disilliusioned by the judicial system and this case proves it. stevegg
  • Score: 1

9:29am Sat 16 Feb 13

vercingetorix says...

I am suprised the sentence wasnt suspended?
I am suprised the sentence wasnt suspended? vercingetorix
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Sat 16 Feb 13

behonest says...

If it had been a local lad from Sherburn Road, I suspect the sentence would have been harsher.

However, we can't punish Eastern Europeans the same, 'cos it would be 'racist'.
If it had been a local lad from Sherburn Road, I suspect the sentence would have been harsher. However, we can't punish Eastern Europeans the same, 'cos it would be 'racist'. behonest
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Sat 16 Feb 13

greenfinger says...

Disgusting sentence!
Disgusting sentence! greenfinger
  • Score: 0

8:02am Sun 17 Feb 13

J.Tull says...

I can't believe he got credit for guilty pleas. He left the man for dead in the road and I'm sure if the police weren't informed of his damaged car he would never have come forward.He should have got 5 years at least!
I can't believe he got credit for guilty pleas. He left the man for dead in the road and I'm sure if the police weren't informed of his damaged car he would never have come forward.He should have got 5 years at least! J.Tull
  • Score: 0

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