York & North Yorkshire

Kaitlin Mitchell crash death: Driver jailed over schoolgirl's death

Kaitlin Mitchell Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Kaitlin Mitchell was crossing West Acres in the village of Byram when she was hit on 28 September 2017

A drink-driver who killed a schoolgirl in a hit-and-run before falsely reporting his car as stolen has been jailed.

Gary Smith, 37, knocked down Kaitlin Mitchell, 12, shortly after she got off a school bus in Byram, North Yorkshire.

He fled the scene and made a fake 999 call, police said, telling officers his car had been taken from his driveway a few metres from the crash scene.

Smith was jailed for five years and nine months at York Crown Court.

He had previously admitted causing death by careless driving while over the drink-driving limit.

North Yorkshire Police said Smith, of Summerfield Drive, Brotherton, near Selby, drove to Knottingley before placing the 999 call.

Smith claimed he was unpacking his boot and had left the keys in his car, when someone got in and drove off. But he was captured on CCTV parking his car and ordering a cab to take him home.

Officers discovered the driver was over the drink-drive limit and had 170mg of benzoylecgonine, a derivative of cocaine, in his system.

Kaitlin was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where she had emergency brain surgery but died a week later.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Gary Smith was described as being "despicable and cowardly" by police

Insp Dave Barf described Smith's actions as "horrific".

"To then lie to police in an attempt to cover up the crime is not only selfish, but also despicable and cowardly," he said.

Smith was also handed a seven-and-a-half-year driving ban.

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