Beds, Herts & Bucks

'Cowardly' hit-and-run driver Billy Woodcraft jailed

Piotr Caban Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Piotr Caban was left lying in the road with "catastrophic head injuries"

A "cowardly" driver has been jailed after he hit and killed a pedestrian before fleeing the scene.

Billy Woodcraft, 21, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving after he collided with Piotr Caban, 42, in Welwyn Garden City in February.

Woodcraft drove away at speed, leaving the Polish father lying in the road with "catastrophic head injuries", police said.

He was jailed at St Albans Crown Court for two years and three months.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Billy Woodcraft drove off at speed after hitting Piotr Caban

Hertfordshire Police said just before 20:00 GMT on 1 February, Woodcraft, of Birch Green, Hertford, was driving his silver Mini Cooper along Mundells when he hit Mr Caban at the junction with Tewin Road.

Investigators calculated his vehicle was travelling at more than 60mph in a 40mph area as he accelerated away.

Mr Caban, who had moved from Poland in June 2016, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge but died the next day.

Family 'robbed'

His wife Sylwia, 42, who was heavily pregnant at the time, could not fly to England from Poland so their daughter Ewa, 23, travelled to the hospital to say goodbye to her father.

Baby Jasmina was born 18 days after her father died, police said.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Constabulary
Image caption Mr Caban's wife Sylwia gave birth to baby Jasmina 18 days after he died

The day after the collision, Woodcraft replaced his windscreen but the discarded damaged screen was found in a garage block in Foxdells, Birch Green, on 7 February, the same day as the Mini was seized, police said.

After Mr Caban's DNA was found on the damaged screen, which was forensically linked to the Mini, Woodcraft handed himself in to police.

Following Thursday's sentencing, Sg Richard Cruse said: "This was a tragic case that has cruelly deprived a family of a much-loved husband and father... his cowardly actions following the incident only compounded the family's pain."

Woodcraft also pleaded guilty to causing death whilst driving uninsured and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was banned from driving for three and a half years.

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