United Kingdom

Kent father is jailed for five years after killing teenage friend as he showed off on his motorbike

Robert Varrier (pictured today) sped down a busy road lined with hundreds of people and drove into Aaron Smith

A father-of-three has been jailed for five years after killing a teenage friend as he 'showed off' performing wheelies on a motorbike.

Robert Varrier sped down a busy road lined with hundreds of people and drove into Aaron Smith causing horrendous injuries.

The 29-year-old killed the 17-year-old as funeral-goers, including children, lined the street in Sittingbourne, Kent, before the service.

His bike struck and injured 27-year-old Warren Richards before Varrier was thrown into the road, momentarily knocking himself out.

Varrier was captured on mobile phone footage performing a series of wheelies on his off-road Suzuki motorbike on April 16 before careering into the crowd.

The motocross enthusiast has been jailed for five years and three months after admitting his dangerous driving killed Mr Smith and injured Mr Richards.

As he was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday, Varrier covered his face and wept as the judge heard how he was heard shouting, 'I've killed him' moments after the tragedy.

Mr Smith sustained serious head injuries and was flown to a hospital in London where he died three days later.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis said Varrier was heard shouting: 'I've killed him... I've killed him.'

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC sent Varrier down for 63 months and also banned the waste removal driver from the road for 67 months.

Mr Smith (pictured) sustained serious head injuries and was flown to a hospital in London where he died three days later

He told him: 'The facts of this case are utterly tragic but your driving was manifestly inappropriate behaviour. What you did was deliberate and brazen, you were showing off.'

The prosecutor told how family and friends of Billy Rye met in Murston, Sittingbourne, before travelling to the crematorium for the funeral.

Varrier and others - with the encouragement of friends - joined the procession to pay tribute to the late Mr Rye, who also loved motocross.

But Mr Jarvis said as hundreds of lined the route, Varrier began performing a number of wheelies up and down the street and on one occasion was waving to friends.

As he was repeating the stunt at speed, Mr Smith stepped into the road and was hit by Varrier's bike before it collided with Mr Richards, who was sitting on his bike.

The teenager also received injuries to his pelvis and ribs and Varrier broke a jaw in the incident.

But Mr Smith, who was airlifted to hospital in London, died from his injuries, the court heard.

Varrier was captured on mobile phone footage (pictured) performing a series of wheelies on his off-road Suzuki motorbike on April 16 before careering into the crowd

Mr Jarvis said before police could arrive, Varrier was taken to the home of a friend and his bike was 'spirited' away.

Varrier, of Sittingbourne, was later tracked to his home but refused to say where his bike had gone.

Mr Jarvis added Varrier was 'showing off and demonstrating his prowess', but Judge Griffith-Jones added: 'This was a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road.'

Danny Moore, defending, said Varrier was 'a hard-working and loving family man' who had made the 'brave but sensible decision' to plead guilty to the offences.

Speaking after the case, DI Lee Neiles from Kent Police' serious collision investigation unit said: 'Varrier undertook a dangerous and appalling level of driving on a residential street among a large group of pedestrians having absolutely no regard for anyone else's safety.

'Following the collision his main concern was evading capture and prosecution and he only admitted his guilt several weeks later when he realised the evidence secured and presented was so vast it gave him no choice but to plead guilty.

'This case has highlighted the devastation of driving dangerously on our roads, in particular performing stunts on off-road motorcycles.

'Not only has the driver received a prison sentence, he has to live with the fact that he has caused someone's death for the rest of his life.'

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