Man killed in hit-and-run after police left him barefoot miles from home

A man was killed by a hit-and-run motorist driving without a licence shortly after police left him barefoot three miles from his home, a court has heard.

Gareth Roper, 35, was killed while walking along the centre of the road in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Officers had earlier attended Roper’s home in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2022 after his wife reported he was “acting somewhat strangely”.

Bolton crown court heard his children were woken during the disturbance and that Roper was taken away to “prevent any further difficulties”.

Sara Haque, prosecuting, said he was de-arrested nine minutes later and was left outside an Iceland store in Wigan, Lancashire.

She said: “He was left barefoot and without any money or his mobile phone. The officers who left him at the scene are still under investigation.”

CCTV footage moments before the fatal collision at about 4.15am showed Roper walking along the road.

He could be heard whistling and clapping, the prosecutor added.

Roper was then hit by a Volvo 360 car driven by Jamie Evans, 30, and was later pronounced dead at the scene with severe head injuries. The car was estimated to be travelling at 55mph in a 30mph zone.

Evans drove off and handed himself in to police later that day.

In a victim personal statement read to the court, Roper’s wife, Rachel said: “Nobody expects that the police will come to your door and tell you your husband has been killed in a hit-and-run.

“He was only taken away about 45 minutes earlier and now I was being told he was dead.

“I miss Gareth so much. I want to tell the driver he has ruined a happy family with a hardworking dad. He has taken all that away.

“He has shown no remorse. He just doesn’t care.”

The court heard the family had noted Evans had posted photographs on Facebook of himself partying and in one post said he would soon be going “on holiday” to Forest Bank prison.

Recorder, Nicholas Clarke KC, was told there was evidence that Evans had been drinking lager and spirits on the night of the collision.

He was released on bail after his arrest in January 2022 but four months later sped away in a van from a pursuing police vehicle, the court was told.

Evans, of no fixed address, was subsequently jailed for 26 weeks after he was convicted of dangerous driving, having no licence and failing to provide a specimen of breath.

He pleaded guilty earlier this year to causing the death of Roper by dangerous driving.

Recorder Clarke remanded him in custody until Tuesday 26 September when he will pass sentence.

PA Media contributed to this report