Sussex driver who killed friend in crash while over prescription drug limit jailed Brighton News

A DANGEROUS driver was over the prescription drug limit when he killed his friend in a head-on collision.

Mark Leadbeatter, of The Spinney, Pulborough, was driving a Nissan Almera when he crossed the opposite carriageway and slammed into an Audi SQ5 in Forest Road, Horsham on September 12, 2019.

His rear passenger, Roger Lees, 54, from Coldwaltham, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Leadbeatter, 60, suffered multiple serious injuries, while the driver and passengers of the Audi suffered minor injuries.

Just five minutes earlier, Leadbeatter had rammed into a Ford Transit van after failing to yield at a roundabout, causing serious injuries to the driver.

He couldn’t stop and continued on his way.

Several witnesses reported that his vehicle had been driven “extremely erratically” between Pulborough and Horsham earlier today.

A blood sample taken from Leadbeatter while he was in hospital revealed that he had 658 mcg of diazepam per liter of blood in his system. The legal limit is 550 mcg.

After his release from the hospital, he was arrested and charged with multiple offences, all of which he denied.

The case went to trial and he was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Monday.

The following day, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving.

He was sentenced to two years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one year for driving without insurance, to run concurrently.

He was also banned from driving for five years and must take an extended retest if he wants to drive again.

Detective Sergeant Kieran McDonald, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “Leadbeatter caused enormous harm and suffering not only to his victims, but also to their loved ones.

“In particular, the family of Roger Lees had welcomed Leadbeatter into their lives and their homes, only to be betrayed by his deception.

“Throughout the trial, he denied responsibility for his actions, expressed no remorse and even attempted to shift the blame to Roger.

“But the evidence which has been meticulously gathered by our dedicated police teams has proven that he was the driver responsible for the catastrophic series of events that day.

“This case should remind motorists of the dramatic consequences of dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drugs.

“There is absolutely no place for this on our roads, and we will continue to provide education and enforcement in our attempt to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads each year.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-14 16:05:50

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