Cumbria

Fail-to-stop driver Matthew Leggett 'facing jail'

Matthew Leggett
Image caption Matthew Leggett said he did not realise he had struck Mr Greenwood

A man who drove off after a fatal crash has been told he faces jail.

Matthew Leggett was on trial at Carlisle Crown Court accused of perverting the course of justice after pedestrian James Greenwood was hit crossing the A66 near Keswick.

It was alleged Leggett threw away his phone and tried to stage the theft of his car, but a jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

However, he had admitted three driving offences committed after the crash.

The 24-year-old, of Sonnets Way, Cockermouth, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving with a smashed windscreen, failing to report an accident and failing to stop.

The court heard he had attempted to "avoid detection" after his BMW struck 61-year-old Mr Greenwood shortly before 00:30 GMT on 7 April last year.

Mr Greenwood, 61 and from Market Drayton, Shropshire, had been returning to a camp site with friends.

Jurors deliberated for more than six hours but said they were unable to reach a verdict on which at least 10 of them agreed.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption James Greenwood was "left to die", the court heard

The court was told that having reached speeds of 104mph (165kph) after leaving the crash scene, Leggett "abandoned" his car 12 miles away with its lights and radio still on, "to make it look as though it had been stolen".

Giving evidence in his defence, he told the jury he had heard a "big bang" on his windscreen but did not realise he had struck Mr Greenwood.

He said he then phoned a friend to arrange collection near remote woodland they knew well.

His mobile phone has not been recovered and he denied throwing it away.

Leggett, who was granted bail, will be sentenced on Thursday.

The case was a retrial, with a different jury having also failed to reach a verdict in September. The prosecution said it would not seek a third trial.

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