Death crash drivers ‘selfish’ says officer

TRIBUTE Flowers left at the scene of the crash
TRIBUTE Flowers left at the scene of the crash

Winchester jail put in special measures

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THE police officer who led the investigation into the death of Matthew Bailey has hit out at the selfish acts of the two drivers.

The 22-year-old was killed as he crossed Park Road, in Landport, following a night out with friends in Guildhall Walk.

As reported in The News, he narrowly avoided being hit by Russell Bennett’s Ford Focus after Bennett overtook a line of stationary cars and sped through a red light on the wrong side of the road.

But as Matthew stepped back he was hit by Russell’s girlfriend Claire Johnson in her BMW Mini who was chasing her lover in a bid to confront him over his cheating.

Matthew, pictured left, a scaffolder from Gosport, was killed instantly.

Sergeant Alyson West, who led the investigation, said: ‘This highlights that people are out enjoying themselves at that time of night in the city, and while people should drive responsibly at all times, there should be a heightened awareness that there are going to be people making their way home.

‘Matthew and his friends had done nothing wrong, they were crossing the road when the lights were on red and they had a right to be there.

‘The selfish and dangerous actions of both these drivers has resulted in his death.’

Former English teacher Johnson was jailed for two years for causing death by dangerous driving and Bennett got 14 months for dangerous driving.

Sgt West said: ‘I agree wholeheartedly with the judge that if they are not equally liable in law, morally they certainly are.

‘It was selfish and unnecessary and a complete waste. My thoughts are with the family.’

Johnson, 25, of Locks Road, Locks Heath, had waited for her boyfriend to leave work at Chiquito in Gunwharf Quays, where he was the deputy manager, before following him at 2am on November 21, last year.

Bennett, 24, who has since moved from the home the couple shared together in Whiteley to Brock Close, in Rednal, Birmingham, quickly realised his girlfriend wanted him to stop but he sped off to stop her finding out about his new woman, his boss Lisa Kearney, who was in his car.

Michael Colley, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: ‘This is a very sad case which must have been horrible for everyone involved.

‘Cases like this serve to remind us of just how dangerous roads can be.’