Unlicensed driver who killed Wigan teenager has jail sentence increased
Liam Wilson killed 13-year-old Jack Worwood after losing control on a blind bend while doing almost three times the speed limit.
Wilson, of Livingstone Street in Ashton, was sentenced to five years in prison at the Royal Courts of Justice in London today (Friday).
The sentence has been increased by one year from the four years in prison originally imposed at Bolton Crown Court on September 3 after Wilson pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
His disqualification from driving has also been increased from five years and ten months to six years and six months.
The 21-year-old, who was uninsured and had never passed a driving test, was driving at 58mph on a 20mph road when he lost control of the £250 Jaguar car he had bought just three days earlier.
He hit Jack, who was on his phone to his grandmother as he walked to meet friends to play football, on Old Road at around 4.30pm on July 7.
Wilson fled the scene without attempting to help.
Jack’s parents Andrew and Catherine Worwood later went looking for him and found paramedics battling to save his life on the street.
A day later, he died in their arms in hospital having suffered catastrophic head and chest injuries.
Following the original sentencing, the Attorney General’s Office referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal as being unduly lenient.
At a hearing in London on Friday, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave – sitting with Mrs Justice Cutts and Mr Justice Foxton – said: “In our judgment, the minimum sentence which should have been passed in this case was one of five years’ imprisonment.”
The Court of Appeal heard Wilson had around 90 metres to apply emergency braking, which a collision investigator said “could have saved Jack’s life”.
Deanna Heer, representing Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC, told the court: “The offender made a deliberate decision to increase his speed when he turned on to Old Road and he knew that he was approaching a bend with a restricted view.
“He was familiar with the road and his driving was made more dangerous by his decision to do so despite the wet conditions and his failure to apply emergency braking.”
She said Wilson – who was driving with his younger brother in the car – “also put his passenger’s life at risk”.
The court heard Wilson told the author of a pre-sentence report that he had increased his speed “because he thought he was being pursued by a police officer”.
Neil Ronan, representing Wilson, referred to “the harrowing nature of his upbringing” and the fact that his heroin addict mother died while he was in custody, adding that Wilson had displayed “genuine remorse”.
He said: “He will revisit this for the rest of his life.”
Increasing Wilson’s sentence, Lord Justice Haddon-Cave said: “Jack Worwood was walking innocently along the pavement near to his home when he was struck by this car and subsequently died tragically as a result.”
The judge said it was “relevant that Liam Wilson made off without seeking to help the deceased and in an effort to avoid apprehension, and then made a determined effort to avoid capture”.
He added Wilson had admitted he “took the decision to drive the car because it was raining”, despite not having a licence and the fact the car did not have an MOT.
The judge also increased his driving ban from four years to six-and-a-half years, which takes effect after his release from custody.
In a statement after the hearing, Solicitor General Mr Ellis said: “Wilson’s dangerous driving killed an innocent young boy who was on his way to play football.
“He fled the scene after the crash and showed little remorse.
“No sentence can repair the damage Wilson caused, but I hope the Court of Appeal’s decision today gives some closure to the victim’s family.”
Following his ban, Wilson will have to take an extended retest should he wish to drive.
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