Devon

Sidmouth hit-and-run driver found dead days before sentencing

Exeter Crown Court

A driver who left a 10-year-old boy seriously injured in a hit-and-run has been found dead days before he was due to be sentenced.

David Williams, 51, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving at a hearing in June.

The case had been adjourned for a psychiatric report to be prepared, but he was set to appear at Exeter Crown Court for sentencing on Friday.

Mr Williams died at his home in Exmouth over the weekend of 20 and 21 July.

He had been driving his Peugeot car on Sidford Road, Sidmouth, in September when he knocked down the boy, who suffered serious leg injuries.

He did not stop at the scene but was later traced by police.

The offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Mr Williams, of Wordsworth Close, Exmouth, had also pleaded guilty to failing to stop when he appeared at court on 28 June.

The judge had warned him an immediate jail sentence would be considered and advised him to "put his affairs in order".

Image copyright Google
Image caption David Williams knocked down the 10-year-old boy on Sidford Road, Sidmouth

Ms Bathsheba Cassel, prosecuting, told the court: "This is a case where the defendant was due to appear for sentence today but has died in the intervening period.

"There is an initial report from the coroner which confirms his death."

Ms Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Mr Williams had history of mental illness and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act a few days after the incident.

Judge Peter Johnson offered his condolences to Mr Williams' family and ruled the charge should have no further effect.

Mr Williams' death is now being investigated by the coroner.

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