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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Driver jailed for killing friend in Cumbria

A young motorist who killed his best friend by driving his car directly at him as he stood in the road has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Kyle Twentyman photo
Kyle Twentyman

A court heard how Kyle Twentyman, 22, refused to alter his speed or course until it was too late because he expected 20-year-old Raymond Pattinson to jump aside.

As a consequence, his Suzuki Swift car hit Maryport man Mr Pattinson, leaving him with injuries that later claimed his life.

At Carlisle Crown Court, prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith outlined the events leading up to the tragedy, on the B5300 coast road through Allonby, on March 25 last year.

Shortly before the tragedy, Twentyman, of Main Street, Allonby, had driven past a garden where Mr Pattinson was relaxing with friends.

Twentyman sounded his horn, and slowed down to acknowledge the group.

After he passed, Mr Pattinson and another man walked into the road to see where his car was going. A minute later, Twentyman was driving back the way he had come, past the same house and garden.

“Raymond Pattinson had walked out in to the road, facing the direction from which the defendant would come,” said Mr Grout-Smith.

“He had his hands waving in the air and it was quite clear the defendant definitely saw him standing in the road.”

Another friend who was standing nearby heard Mr Pattinson say: “I’m not going to move” as Twentyman’s car approached.

“Twentyman continued to drive towards Mr Pattinson without slowing down. At one point, he put his clutch in and revved his engine audibly for those at the scene.

“All of the eyewitnesses say the defendant didn’t slow down and eventually his car struck Mr Pattinson, knocking him into the air.”

There was evidence, said Mr Grout-Smith, that both the driver and the victim tried to move to the nearside at the very last moment, but too late to avoid a collision.

Afterwards, Twentyman was deeply distressed. His car was travelling at between 25 and 30mph at the time of the collision. He had not been drinking, though Mr Pattinson had consumed slightly over the legal limit for driving on the night he died.

Mr Grout-Smith said: “Both men thought the other would take evasive action.”

He added that as Twentyman drove towards his friend he had a clear view of him.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Pattinson’s sister Hannah Greig said her brother had been in the process of applying for the Army.

She said: “The death of Raymond has hit us very hard, and especially our mother, whose health deteriorated rapidly after his death. She was already diabetic and she sadly died from her symptoms nine months after the accident.

“We think about Raymond every day. He’s left a hole in our lives and he will never be forgotten.”

Keith Thomas, for Twentyman, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, confirmed that the driver believed his friend would get out of the way. He was an inexperienced driver and misjudged the situation.

“In reality, he just froze,” said Mr Thomas. “And there was a dreadful collision.”

It was clear Twentyman fully accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing, he said, adding that there was no excessive speed.

Passing sentence, Judge Batty told Twentyman: “I acknowledge that you will have to live with the fact that you killed your best friend. You deny that the two of you were playing chicken, as it is colloquially known, but it is perfectly plain that there had been something of a joke, and it went terribly wrong.”

He banned Twentyman from driving for three years, ruling that he must take an extended retest before again getting behind the wheel.

At the time of his death, Mr Pattinson lived in Edinburgh Road, Maryport and was working as a junior chef at the Old Postinghouse, Deanscales, near Cockermouth.

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