A ruthless motorcyclist who caused the death of a ‘much-loved’ woman crossing the road in south Manchester has been jailed for seven years.
Calinton Campbell, 43, had smoked hashish and was driving almost double the speed limit while flying in and out of traffic on his powerful Honda when the ‘terrible and tragic’ crash happened in July 2019.
The bike plowed into 66-year-old Victoria Munnich on the A34 Kingsway in Burnage and threw her 18 meters through the air before hitting a lamppost.
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Despite the desperate efforts of neighbors and paramedics, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Miss Munnich’s partner for 30 years witnessed the clash and collapsed in shock, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Campbell, who had a long history of driving offenses, suffered a broken wrist and was also taken to hospital.
The court heard when police were able to question him, he immediately blamed the victim for the accident and claimed he had driven safely and she had stepped out in front of him.
Prosecutor Karen Hammond said Campbell from Burnage Lane, Manchester, told a police officer: ‘I do not want to ease the way I cycle. I have not mashed myself – this is the second time this has happened. ‘
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He also later added: “I’m sorry for the injuries she herself caused.”
The court heard Campbell was involved in another serious collision in 2014 when his bike collided with a car.
At the time, Campbell also insisted he was not to blame.
In this case, police investigated and found that there were errors on both sides and decided not to seek charges against Campbell because he suffered serious injuries.
However, the court heard that Campbell has previously convicted of dangerous driving, driving without insurance and failing to stop for police dating back to 2003.
In 2007, he was sentenced to a suspended sentence for taking police on a 100 mph police chase.
And most recently in 2017, police observed him riding antisocially on his motorcycle near where a carnival was taking place and warned him to leave the area.
However, he should have ignored the warning and was again spotted in the area by police later.
Campbell denied the charge of causing Miss Munnich’s death by dangerous driving and went to court at Manchester Crown Court.
Pc Pye of the Greater Manchester Police Serious Collision Unit provided evidence, including CCTV footage, suggesting Campbell was driving around 78km / h at the time of the crash.
The speed limit on the A34 is 40 km / h.
Miss Munnich and her partner Hartley had been for a drink at a pub in Fallowfield and returned home around 11.15pm when they started crossing the road, the court heard.
Two witnesses described how Campbell’s bike had made and overtaken other vehicles and was traveling at ‘too high a speed’, Miss Hammond said.
One of the drivers, Mr Abbas, told police he had noticed Miss Munnich entering the road and believed there was enough time for her to cross safely, the court heard.
“Both drivers were extremely surprised by the speed [Campbell’s] vehicle, “Miss Hammon added.
Experts concluded that if Campbell had driven with the speed limit, he would have had time to brake and avoid the collision, the court heard.
A drug test also found more than 8 micrograms of hashish in Campbell’s system, four times the legal limit.
He was found guilty after a trial.
Judge Suzanne Goddard sentenced Campbell to seven years in prison and said he had shown remorse for his crime.
“You are someone who deliberately violates traffic laws, regardless of the risk to other road users,” she said.
“You have now caused another person’s death.
“The prosecution was overwhelming, it must have been obvious to everyone but you that it was dangerous to drive like you did at night, weaving in and out of traffic.
“You went too fast to react to pedestrians like Miss Munnich.”
In a statement on the consequences for victims, Miss Munnich’s partner, Hartley, recounted how he was left with a ‘desperate grief’ over his loss and how he still suffers from post-traumatic anxiety.
“Hartley is clearly devastated by the loss of his partner for 30 years,” Judge Goddard added.
“It has caused him great trauma and psychological damage.”
Campbell was also banned from driving for 9 years and four months and must take an extended driving test before he gets permission again.
Lead investigator Sergeant Philip Shaw of GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Campbell drove that night with complete disregard for the safety of others, which ultimately led to Victoria tragically losing her life and causing enormous pain and suffering to her family.
“I hope Campbell’s time in prison is spent reflecting on the extremely bad decisions he made that night, which will have a lasting effect on Victoria’s family and friends, and our thoughts are very much with them today.
“GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit is committed to investigating and issuing verdicts that cause injury and death by driving dangerously, and I hope today’s verdict sends a strong message that this type of crime will never be tolerated.”
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