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22 December 2010, 00:00
Two men have been sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison at Lewes Crown Court today for causing death by dangerous driving after a fatal road traffic collision last year.
David Steele, a 55 year old retired businessman, of Dane Close, Hartlip, pleaded guilty to the offence on 29 October this year and was remanded in custody prior to sentencing. He was jailed for four years imprisonment, disqualified from driving for six years and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.
Edward Parker, a 51 year old company director, of Sportsman's Cottages, Kings Hill was found guilty on 10 December and also remanded in custody pending sentencing. He received a sentence of seven years imprisonment, disqualified from driving for seven years and ordered to pay £3,500 in costs.
On 31 July 2009 just after 5pm, Jim Molloy (pictured above) a 58 year old challenging needs specialist from Broadstairs, was driving coast-bound along the M2 between junctions 3 and 4 in Medway. He was returning home from work at the time when a car driven by Parker ploughed into the back of him. This caused Mr Molloy to lose control and triggered a catastrophic chain of events that resulted in five vehicles becoming involved in the collision.
Mr Molloy's car subsequently struck a lorry before hitting the central reservation barrier and catching fire. Incredibly, four men pulled Mr Molloy free from his burning car without any regard for their own safety but their attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Witnesses told the court that the high powered cars being driven by Steele and Parker appeared to be travelling between 120 and 140 miles per hour and close to each other before the collision.
Serious Collision Investigation Unit Constable, Ian Malcolm, said: 'We are satisfied with the sentences but the outcome will never bring back Mr Molloy.
'What should have been a day like any other for the Molloy family was changed forever by the selfish actions of two men. A normal working day ended in tragedy as a result of the complete disregard by Steele and Parker for the law and other road users and, indeed, their own safety.
'These men will be free at the end of their sentences but Mr Molloy's loved ones will never fully recover from losing a husband, father and grandfather.
'A section of the M2 was closed for eight hours while emergency services dealt with the aftermath of the multi vehicle collision. This was necessary in order to conduct a thorough forensic examination of what was a crime scene and assess and recover evidence to convict the offenders.
'Kent Police will continue to ensure that such drivers are brought before the courts as part of our efforts to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. In the meantime, I urge all motorists to have respect for the road, the vehicle they drive and other drivers and think of the many and tragic consequences of irresponsible behaviour.'
Statement from the family of Jim Molloy:
Jim was a truly wonderful man full of love and compassion, who was the head of our very close family. He made us all feel very loved and secure. Our family life before his death was filled with laughter, jokes and fun times, but now it is hard not to focus on the way he died and that when we are together he is always missing. We grieve for him and for the life we all once had.
Jim worked with adults with learning disabilities and challenging needs and was dedicated to helping them fulfil their potential. We are so proud of the many tributes that have been paid to him following his death. So many people have said that he changed their lives for the better, and what greater legacy can anyone hope to leave than the knowledge that their time in the world helped improve the lives of others.
As a family we wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the brave men who risked their own lives to pull Jim from his burning car. Jim was still alive at that point and we are grateful to the paramedics who did all they could to try to save him. The damage that has been done to our family can never be undone, but it would have been so much worse, but for the actions of these good people.
Today legal justice has been achieved. However until both men find the courage and integrity needed to accept responsibility for what they have done and show remorse, moral justice will be denied to Jim and us. The manner of Jim's traumatic and violent death was so in contrast to the way he lived his life. He respected and valued life, not just his own but those of others. Having to attend a trial and hear all the evidence of so many witnesses has been harrowing and so painful. We have spent the last 17 months having to deal with the justice system, when we should have been able to concentrate our emotions on grieving our loss.
Jim was a truly wonderful husband, dad and grandpa whom we loved so much. Our hearts are truly broken.
Pictured David Steel (left and Edward Parker)