Uninsured driver who knocked down and killed pensioner asked girlfriend to take blame

Harrison Buckley, 24, knocked down and killed 81-year-old Ann Cassidy. (SWNS)
Harrison Buckley, 24, knocked down and killed 81-year-old Ann Cassidy. (SWNS)

An uninsured motorist who knocked down and killed a great-grandmother and then tried to let his girlfriend take the blame has been jailed.

Harrison Buckley, 24, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice after 81-year-old Ann Cassidy's death in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, last May.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Buckley had driven a Seat vehicle into the pensioner as she was crossing a street in Thrybergh.

Following the incident, he “roped” his partner, Jordie Stokes, 27, into telling police that she was the driver and hadn’t realised what had happened, the court heard.

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A general view of Sheffield Crown Court, Sheffield.
Harrison Buckley was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court. (PA)

Officers initially regarded the collision as a minor incident, but hours later, Anne’s health deteriorated, and she was found to have a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

She died the following day, with her husband Eric, who rushed to the scene, telling the court he had lost “the love of his life” and his daughters their “best friend”.

Buckley, of Thrybergh, Rotherham, later attended a police station and accepted he was the driver after CCTV revealed a man had been in charge of the vehicle.

Handing Buckley a 59-week jail term on Monday, Judge Rachael Harrison told him no sentence would heal the pain he had caused to his victim's family.

He was also disqualified from driving for 29 weeks.

The court heard Buckley had ploughed into Ann as she was crossing Park Lane on 27 May, 2021.

Prosecutor Laura Marshall said the Seat was a mobility vehicle provided to Stokes because of her grandfather’s disability.

But Buckley had taken the car without her permission and had later persuaded his partner to come to the scene and lie on his behalf and she also took a breathalyser test.

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The court heard Buckley was observed by police with an open bottle of Desperados alcohol at the time but hadn’t been breath-tested as they didn’t think he was the driver.

Stokes later admitted she had not realised Buckley had taken her car and she had not been the driver – and had only attended after the defendant had phoned her.

Ann’s widower Eric said he “missed” his wife and still talked to her even though she’d passed away.

He told the court: “Ann was my life. We did everything together. I miss her so much.”

Defence barrister Richard Barradell said Buckley has been struggling to cope after his brother had been involved in a car crash and had died in his arms.

The court also heard that at the time of the collision, Buckley had driven the car to get painkillers after he’d suffered two stab wounds and a bleed on the brain in an assault.

The judge sentenced Stokes, from Thrybergh, to a six-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 100 hours of unpaid work.