An “abusive and dangerous” driver who killed a pensioner during a high-speed police chase after a late-night burglary spree has been jailed for more than 12 years.
Gary Lynch admitted causing the death of Arthur Bourlet on the second day of his trial, after he knocked the 75-year-old to the ground as he was pushing his bicycle up a hill on April 11.
Mr Bourlet’s daughter, Anita Sanders, described Lynch’s actions as “truly shocking and, frankly, unforgivable”.
After stealing items from a pub and a Mitsubishi Shogun from a cottage in the early hours of the morning, Lynch, 55, reached speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone and drove the wrong way round a roundabout while attempting to escape from officers.
Jurors at Northampton Crown Court were told Lynch “could have been in no doubt” that he had knocked Mr Bourlet off his bike and driven over him in the stolen Mitsubishi in Station Road in Isham, Northamptonshire – but that did not halt his attempt to get away from police.
The pensioner, from Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, was taken to Coventry Hospital by air ambulance but had suffered significant injuries and was pronounced dead almost a month later, on May 3.
On Tuesday, Lynch, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, two burglaries and driving while disqualified, and was jailed for 12 years and six months, Northamptonshire Police said.
After Lynch was sentenced, Ms Sanders said: “We are incredibly relieved that we witnessed justice be served.
“Throughout this process he has put us through additional trauma and distress by showing complete contempt for us as a family.
“We feel his total lack of remorse or regard for the pain we are experiencing is truly shocking and, frankly, unforgivable.”
Paying tribute to her father, Ms Sanders continued: “It’s hard to summarise in two short sentences what a person is like when they were so imperative in your life and are suddenly taken away from you.
“Dad was just that – a dad that everyone hopes to have on their team. The man we all relied on to fix things and solve any issues we had.
“He was the one we called when we needed help, but he was also one of the first people we wanted to call to share good news with.
“He was an incredibly fit man for his age, avid cyclist and had a wicked sense of humour. He was cherished by so many.
“He is missed greatly by his family and, although no sentence can right that wrong, it does give us a sense of redress to know he (Lynch) is off the streets and cannot cause harm to any other families.”
Detective Constable Ryan Smedley, who led the investigation, said: “Gary Lynch showed absolutely no regard for life on the morning of April 11 – he drove exceptionally dangerously, going the wrong way around roundabouts, running red lights, driving at multiple people, who had to jump out of his way, and ramming a number of police vehicles in an effort to escape facing his crimes.
“In one desperate attempt to escape, he hit Arthur, who was simply out trying to enjoy some morning exercise, causing injuries that sadly led to his death.
“What adds insult to injury as well is the lack of remorse Lynch has shown throughout this entire process – being abusive to any police officer he has come into contact with, refusing to turn up at his trial and not engaging with the court proceedings at all, until yesterday.
“Having spent time with Arthur’s family over the past few months, it is clear to see what a loved and well-regarded man he was and how much his family relied on him.
“Lynch has taken Arthur away from them and this has left a pain like no other.”
Joseph Dodman, road traffic accident lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “This is tragic case of an innocent man losing his life due to the reckless actions of another individual.
“He leaves behind many loving members of his family. We can only hope this provides some form of closure and will allow his family to begin to focus on the happier times they spent together, opposed to how he tragically lost his life.”