Motorist sentenced to two years in prison for careless driving after killing five-year-old neighbour

A motorist who was 'sick and tired' of children playing on his driveway has been jailed for two years after crushing a neighbour's five-year-old son to death as he parked his car.

Friday, 21st October 2016, 1:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:38 pm
The scales of justice

David Cowell, 42, of Deacon Crescent, Middleton ran over Riley Ferguson, causing horrific head and neck injuries while trying to scare a ten-year-old girl off his drive, a court heard.

Riley, who loved golf and swimming, had been playing on the shared drive in Milton Keynes, when the collision happened on Sunday, June 7 last year.

The “delightful boy” was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford before being moved into a hospice where he sadly died days later on June 11.

PHOTO: David Cowell (INS News Agency)

Cowell had denied the charge of causing death by dangerous driving but was convicted by a majority verdict at Aylesbury Crown Court.

He wept as he sat in court wearing a grey suit and tie.

Judge Frances Sheridan, said: “It is my view that the defendant wanted to get make a point to the girl, he was focusing on her, trying to get as close to her as possible.

“Because of that he came close to her and was not looking out for Riley who was there to be seen.

PHOTO: David Cowell (INS News Agency)

“He wanted to make a point to say ‘get off my drive’.”

He added: “Riley’s life was snuffed out by this piece of appalling driving, and it was appalling driving.”

During the trial the jury were told Cowell had complained about children playing on his driveway.

Prosecutor Alan Blake told the court the incident had affected the family and the ten-year-old witness extremely badly.

He said: “The girl has told her mother ‘it should have been me’, she has found it very upsetting and has recurring dreams about what happened.”

Riley’s mum, Grazyna, and dad, Barry, were in court to see Cowell sentenced ane read out a victim impact statement in court.

Fighting back tears she read a letter to her son, she said: “You touched ours and so many hearts with your infectious smile and personality.”

Polish-born Mrs Ferguson, added: “We are so proud and privileged to be your parents, you will stay with us forever.”

Speaking in mitigation Sean Esprit, said: “My client has shown geniune remorse and will have to live with the repercussions of what he has done for the rest of his life.”

The court was told Cowell had two convictions for drinking driving dating from 1998 and 1999 for which he was fined and disqualified for a year and 36 months respectively

Mr Esprit told the judge these convictions were very old and a part from a speeding offence in 2014 his client had not been involved in any run ins with the law.

During the trial the court heard descriptions of the horrific events from a 10-year-old witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She said: “Our next door neighbour was driving down the hill and he didn’t see Riley but he saw me because I was standing up. Riley was sitting down.

“He went over Riley. He got out the car and put Riley on the grass.

“His mum was screaming and Riley was bleeding out of his face and nose. His dad carried him over to his front lawn and he wasn’t breathing.”

The girl said she was too afraid to look at the devastating scene and feared she would “puke” if she had returned.

She added: “Dave felt a bump and moved backwards. I couldn’t see Riley and then he moved away and I could see him again.

“My mum saw Riley lying on the floor and she called the ambulance and the police came.

“Riley didn’t open his eyes.”

Cowell was also handed a driving ban of five years and two months.