Hit-and-run driver who killed father-of-six is jailed for nine years

Hit-and-run driver who killed father-of-six, 35, that was forced to walk home barefoot for three miles after being spoken to by police is jailed for nine years

  • Jamie Evans, 30, was jailed for nine years for killing a man in a Wigan hit-and-run

A hit-and-run motorist who killed a man that had been left barefoot in the street by police three miles from his home has been jailed for nine years.

Officers attended the home of father-of-six Gareth Roper, 35, in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2022 after his wife reported he was ‘acting in a strange manner’.

Mr Roper was taken away to ‘prevent any further difficulties’ but was de-arrested nine minutes later and left outside the Iceland store in Platt Bridge, Wigan, without any money or his mobile phone, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Twenty-four minutes later Mr Roper was struck by a Volvo V60 driven by Jamie Evans, 30, as he walked along the centre of the single carriageway in Lily Lane, Bamfurlong. He was later pronounced dead at the scene with head injuries.

The police officers who left Mr Roper are under investigation for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter, the court heard.

Hit-and-run motorist Jamie Evans, 30, who killed a man that had been left barefoot in the street by police three miles from his home, has been jailed for nine years

Gareth Roper (pictured with his wife Rachel), 35, was killed after being hit by a vehicle on New Year’s Day 2022. The police officers who left Mr Roper are under investigation for the offence of gross negligence manslaughter, the court heard

Unlicenced Evans, who had been drinking strong lager and spirits, was speeding at 55mph in a 30mph zone and drove off before he later handed himself in to police later that day.

Two taxi drivers had earlier managed to spot Mr Roper, wearing dark clothing, walking in the middle of the road and had slowed down to manoeuvre around him.

Road collision experts concluded the risk of death at the approach speed of 55 mph was 86 per cent while the risk of death had Mr Roper been struck at 30mph would have been just 7 per cent.

Evans was released on bail after his arrest in January 2022 but four months later got behind the wheel again and sped away in a van from a pursuing police vehicle, the court was told.

Evans, of no fixed address, was subsequently jailed for 26 weeks after he was convicted of dangerous driving, having no licence and failing to provide a specimen of breath.

Mr Roper was hit by a Volvo V60 car driven by Jamie Evans, 30, on Lily Lane (pictured) in Wigan

Mr Roper’s wife Rachel (pictured right) told Bolton Crown Court of how Evans has ‘ruined a happy family’ 

Sentencing on Tuesday, Recorder Nicholas Clarke KC told the defendant: ‘Frankly I find it utterly remarkable that having killed somebody on the 1st of January and knowing that you were under investigation for that you should continue to drive and drive dangerously still while not having any insurance or any driving licence.

‘You clearly think that the laws of the road do not apply to you.’

He added: ‘Despite there being pavement on the route, Mr Roper was observed walking down the middle of the road, it appears on the painted white lines.

‘The police thought that the painted white lines were perhaps providing a smoother surface under his bare feet than the rest of the road and pavement.

‘It is clear Mr Roper placed himself in a vulnerable situation by walking along the centre of a road. However, if you had been travelling at or below the speed limit, the collision would have occurred at a much lower speed.’

Evans, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to causing the death of Mr Roper by dangerous driving, also receiving a 14-year driving ban.

Patrick Buckley, defending, said he thought the ‘enormity of the situation finally hit’ Evans when he was remanded into custody last Friday afternoon after the prosecution opened its case.

He said: ‘He did express considerable remorse.’

Mr Buckley went on: ‘I am at a loss as to why he [Mr Roper] was left where he was by who he was left.

‘My understanding is that these officers are under investigation for gross negligence manslaughter.’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after it probed the conduct of the four Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers who had contact with Mr Roper prior to his death.

An IOPC spokesman said: ‘Following the conclusion of the investigation in December 2022, we determined there was an indication the officers may have committed a criminal offence in relation to the decision to de-arrest Mr Roper and drop him off some distance from his home address.

‘We referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider possible charges.

‘It is important to note that a referral to the CPS does not necessarily mean that criminal charges will follow. It will now be for prosecutors to determine, applying the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, whether charges should follow and, if so for whom and what those charges may be.’

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