Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Car thief jailed for knocking down and killing chef

Lionel Simenya and Declan Mayes
Image caption Lionel Simenya was hit by Declan Mayes shortly after the 21-year-old stole a Peugeot 207

A car thief who killed a man after hitting him with a stolen car in Edinburgh has been jailed for five years and three months.

Declan Mayes, 21 from Edinburgh, lost control of the Peugeot 207 before hitting 35-year-old Lionel Simenya.

DNA evidence linked Mayes, who was described as having a "significant record" to the crash on 7 March.

He was also banned from driving for eight years and seven months during a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The court heard that Mr Simenya, who was born in the African state of Burundi, arrived in Scotland in 2011 and trained as a chef.

Impact statement

He was described as a hard-working man with his whole life ahead of him.

The court was told that Mayes admitted breaking into Fair Deal Autos, in Fords Road in Saughton, and stealing a key safe and the Peugeot on the day of the chef's death.

After getting behind the wheel, he lost control of the Peugeot, mounted a kerb before hitting bushes and a fence.

Image caption Mayes admitted stealing the Peugeot from Fair Deal Autos on Fords Road

He then continued to drive the damaged car and hit Mr Simenya, who was on the road at the time.

The court heard that the chef had been pursuing associates of Mayes who had tampered with his van.

His chef's knives and work clothes were among his personal possessions, found in his van nearby in which he was temporarily living.

'Aggravating factors'

Advocate depute Liam Ewing told the court that Mr Simenya suffered extensive skull fracturing and traumatic brain injury in the smash.

Judge Lady Scott said victim impact statements from Mr Simenya's family were heartbreaking.

She told Mayes: "I have to consider the aggravating factors and these are significant here - the fact that at the time you were driving a stolen car and driving while uninsured."

She said the father-of-one had "a significant record" for such offending.

But the judge said she also took account of his age and that he panicked during "a fast moving event".

Lady Scott told Mayes she would have jailed him for seven years, but for his guilty pleas.

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