Boy, 15, locked up for killing pedestrian in stolen Range Rover

27-year-old Douglas Robertson died in the collision.
27-year-old Douglas Robertson died in the collision.
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A 15-year-old who knocked down and killed a pedestrian in North Yorkshire while driving a stolen Range Rover at 70mph in a 30mph zone then ran off from police has been detained for five years.

A judge lifted a ban on the media reporting Charlie Tyers’ name after he ruled it was in the public interest to know full details of the incident which shocked the market town of Stokesley.

Victim Douglas Scott Robertson, 27, was dragged more than 100 yards under the powerful vehicle after the teenage driver lost control in snow.

Tyers, of High Lane, Maltby, Middlesbrough, sobbed uncontrollably when CCTV of the moments leading up to the collision and the loud bang that followed were shown.

The car smashed into a lamppost so hard the top section of the light ended in a tree 50ft away, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Mr Robertson was walking to his local club in Stokesley’s High Street on a snowy Saturday afternoon in January when he was mown down.

Police were looking for the Range Rover after they received reports earlier in the day about it being driven badly.

An officer spotted the vehicle ahead and once it had gone round a corner, he put on his siren and lights, which the defence claimed caused the driver to speed away.

David Bradshaw, prosecuting, said: “At the time the vehicle collided with the deceased he was walking along a footpath carrying an umbrella, minding his own business, making his way towards a social club.

“He was dragged 340ft over some waste ground until the vehicle went through a small wall and tree and hit the side of the working men’s club.”

Mr Robertson died at the scene.

Tyers, over 6ft tall and well-built, fled from police and asked for help at a nearby house, telling the occupants that men were chasing him, Mr Bradshaw said.

The car had been taken from a house party in Stockton, Teesside, in the early hours by the teenage defendant.

After he was arrested, Tyers told police his life was over and his family would disown him.

“I have killed somebody’s baby,” he said. “Oh please, Jesus, no, not this.”

Judge John Walford said the victim was a much-loved son, brother and friend whose loss had ruined the lives of his family.

“You took this Range Rover which belonged to someone else,” the judge said. “Why you took it has not been explained.

“You must have taken it for pure devilment, arrogantly believing you could drive it appropriately when you neither had the experience or the qualifications to do so, or not caring what might happen with you behind the wheel.

“The road conditions were treacherous and while you drove it, the car was damaged.”

Witnesses spotted the driver showing off in the Range Rover in the hours before the crash, sounding the horn to children he knew.

He also approached two people in a layby and told them he did not know how to fill the car with fuel, and they tried to warn him that a front tyre was rubbing on the wheel arch.

He later got fuel from a petrol station and sped off without paying.

The judge said: “The crash occurred when you were driving at a grossly excessive speed, some 70mph in a 30mph limit, in an attempt to evade the police with pedestrians on the pavement and other vehicles on the road. The factors combined make what happened almost inevitable.”

It was a “ghastly irony” that in sentencing the judge had to consider the young defendant’s welfare “when you had so little regard for the welfare of others that morning”.

Tyers, described in a pre-sentence report as assertive and self-confident, was given credit for his remorse and early guilty plea. He has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since the crash.

The boy was ordered to serve five years’ detention and was disqualified from applying for a driving licence for five years.

Sam Hanlon, 23, from Ferndale Close, Wingate, County Durham, was a passenger in the Range Rover when it crashed.

He pleaded guilty previously to aggravated vehicle taking where a death occurred and was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard he only got in the Range Rover five to 10 minutes before the crash.

The judge lifted the reporting restriction despite an argument from Peter Makepeace, defending, that it would harm his rehabilitation.

The judge said: “What tips the balance in this case is the significance of this devastating incident in a small community such as Stokesley.

“While I have had due regard to the interests of this young defendant, the nature of the offence and its surrounding circumstances are such to make it in the public interest that full reporting take place.”

Mr Robertson’s mother Jean North said in a statement: “Douglas was a shy, kind, caring and intelligent person.

“He was a fantastic son who helped me both practically and emotionally, and a best friend to his sister Tracey.

“He had worked himself out, found his niche in life, and knew just what he wanted to achieve. It is impossible to find the words to describe just how much he meant to us.

“To have him taken from us leaves a gaping hole in our lives that no sentence can overcome. We ask for privacy at this time so we can continue to come to terms with our loss.”