Man killed 96-year-old bystander in road rage crash
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
A motorist ran over and killed a 96-year-old bystander in a road rage crash in Great Yarmouth.
Michael Irons was trying to ram his car into another vehicle when he hit Ivy Warnes, who was crossing the road.
He appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Friday, where he was jailed for ten and half years for manslaughter.
The count heard how Irons, 26, had been driving at 55mph along Alexandra Road, which has a 30mph limit, near the junction of Crown Road, when he struck the victim as she was being helped across the road by her daughter.
Marc Brown, prosecuting, said the daughter, who had become aware of the approaching car, had tried to get out of the way but it hit Mrs Warnes when she was two thirds of the way across.
At the time, Irons had been trying to deliberately crash into another car having been involved in a road rage incident with its occupants just moments earlier.
The argument started when Irons, who was driving a VW Golf with his partner and child on board, had gone through a small gap to overtake an Audi, mounting a kerb in the process.
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It led to an altercation between him and a couple in the Audi.
Irons, who was later found to be over the drink drive limit, reversed into another vehicle and drove off, deliberately scraping the Golf along the side of the parked Audi.
He then dropped off his passengers and drove around the one-way system back to Crown Road where he drove deliberately towards the parked Audi, hitting Mrs Warnes and then the Audi.
Mr Brown said Irons then got out of his car and walked past the victim lying in the road, before trying to run away from the scene.
He was tackled by members of the public, while staff from a nearby doctors' surgery came to help Mrs Warnes before paramedics arrived.
Mr Brown said she was in "insufferable pain" and taken to hospital where it was decided she would need to have her legs amputated below the knees.
But it was thought she would not survive such an operation and she died in hospital the following day after life support was withdrawn.
Irons, formerly of Lilac Close, Bradwell but of no fixed address, appeared at court on Friday (July 1) to be sentenced having admitted manslaughter over the incident, which happened at about 3.45pm on March 8 this year.
He had also admitted damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered and driving a motor vehicle while over the prescribed alcohol limit.
A statement from the victim's daughter Jill Warnes, who had come over from Portugal where she lives to see her mother, said she and her brother had "the most wonderful mum and dad".
After the death of their father 12 years ago her mother "missed" her husband every day but loved her home.
They had hoped, when the time came, she might pass peacefully at home in her favourite armchair in front of the TV.
But instead, she said, her mother suffered the "worst thing imaginable" and what had started as a "lovely day" turned into the "worst day of our lives".
She said she and her brother were "heartbroken" and had lost "a wonderful mum", adding there would "never be another day when I don't live this nightmare - it's a life sentence".
Judge Alice Robinson handed Irons, who appeared to smirk in the dock as he was jailed, an extended sentence of 10-and-a-half-years in custody and four years on licence.
She said Irons had "used his car as a weapon" having taken a deliberate decision to ram his car into the Audi car and "in doing so you literally mowed down Ivy Warnes".
Will Carter, mitigating, said in the aftermath of the crash Irons did not at that stage realise, possibly because he was drunk, that he had hit the pedestrian who was very seriously injured.
He said Irons "would have to live with the fact that although he didn't go out intending to take a life that day, he did take a life and will have to live with that for the rest of his life".
Irons was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.
Speaking after the case, DI Dave McCormack said: “Iron’s actions that day have left a family without a much loved mother and grandmother and our thoughts remain with them."