Father killed as ram raider flees scene ‘like a coward’ and hits car head-on

A crook who killed a motorist as he drove away from the scene of a botch ram-raid ‘like a coward’ has been jailed for 12 years.

Dale Smith fled from a Co-op store after trying to steal an ATM machine, which he and two others dragged from the shop in a stolen Toyota Hi-Lux.

But when they were unable to lift it out of the middle of the road, they made off in another stolen car before colliding head-on with a green Nissan Primera.

The driver of the other vehicle, 51-year-old Mark Collin, died at the scene in Crowland, Cambridgshire, as Smith and the other men fled on foot.

Seconds before the collision on August 1 last year, the black Audi S3 the men were travelling in passed in view of a CCTV camera at around 84mph – more than double the speed limit.

Smith, 30, was reported to the police hours later after he was seen by a member of the public with wet, dirty, torn clothes and no shoes.

He was arrested before pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death while driving without a licence, burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving and handling stolen goods.

On Monday, Peterborough Crown Court heard how in the hours before the fatal collision, Smith broke into a yard and stole crane strops from a toolbox.

He made his way to the Co-Op in Crowland in a stolen Toyota Hi-Lux and at about 4am he and two others attempted to steal an ATM machine.

They placed the strops around the machine and pulled it from the store into the middle of the road but were unable to lift it and abandoned it a few minutes later.

Smith and the others made off in a black Audi S3 which had been stolen previously in a burglary on 21 July.

The crash which killed Mr Collin occurred less than 15 minutes later on the A1040 in Whittlesey, Cambs.

A survey of traffic on the B1040 revealed that the average speed of vehicles was found to be 41mph.

Judge Matthew Lowe said the fatal injuries were caused ‘wholly’ by Smith who ‘ran like a coward’ after the collision.

He jailed Smith for 12 years.

Speaking after sentencing, Pc Pete Bimson of Cambridgeshire Police, said: "This was a tragic collision that arose out of Smith’s selfish actions and criminality.

"Smith and two others committed a burglary and whilst fleeing the scene, drove dangerously, resulting in the death of Mr Collin.

"I hope that today, after a complex investigation, Smith’s guilty plea will provide some comfort to the family and friends of Mr Collin."

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