A COVENTRY man who helped a ‘cowardly and selfish’ driver to hide a car involved in the crash which claimed the life of teenager Lucy Commins in 2014 has been jailed.
Marc Donaldson had denied perverting the course of justice by hiding the Ford Fiesta in the garage at his home while its distinctive appearance was altered after the tragic crash.
But he was convicted following a trial at Warwick Crown Court in September, after which the case was adjourned for a medical report to be prepared on him.
And at the resumed hearing Donaldson (43) of Rigdale Close, Coventry, who sat in the dock in a wheelchair, was jailed for nine months.
During the trial prosecutor Nicola Moore explained that in February 2014 Reece Jones, driving a ‘souped-up’ Ford Fiesta with red ‘go-faster stripes,’ and Sean Sparkes, in a VW Golf, were racing each-other along Ansty Road, Coventry, late at night.
As a result of that there was a collision when Mercedes driver Ross Clark, with 16-year-old Lucy and a friend of hers in his car, pulled out from a side street into their path.
Sparkes’s Golf ploughed into the side of the Mercedes, killing Lucy and badly injuring her friend and Clark.
Jones swerved to avoid the Mercedes, but clipped the kerb and lost two distinctive black hubcaps from his car before driving back to his home in Vincent Wyles House, Attoxhall Road, Coventry.
He met up with Donaldson in the foyer, and the Fiesta was later driven to Donaldson’s home where, after he had cleared space for it, the car was put into his garage.
When Jones was stopped in the car a week later, the go-faster stripes had been removed and it had orange wheels replacing the ones with the distinctive red and black hubcaps.
She told the jury Jones had admitted hiding the car in the garage and changing its identity, and she said they could be sure Donaldson had concealed the car, knowing what had happened.
Donaldson accepted in court that the Fiesta had been on his drive and then in his garage, but claimed he had no knowledge that there was anything untoward – and said that as far as he was concerned it was just being stored, not hidden.
Miss Moore pointed out that Jones, then 24, had pleaded guilty to causing Lucy’s death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice, and been jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Sparkes, then 33, of Nuneaton Road, Bulkington, was jailed for the same period for causing Lucy’s death by dangerous driving and a separate charge of perverting the course of justice.
And in September last year Clark, then 38, who was living locally at the time, was jailed for seven years after being found guilty after a trial of causing Lucy’s death by careless driving.
The court heard that, apart from a conviction for the harassment of his ex-partner, for which he received a suspended sentence in June, Donaldson (pictured) had not been in trouble since 1998.
His barrister Scott Coughtrie said: “He is ashamed of himself. He has teenage children himself, and he has expressed how he would feel if his young daughter was taken in such tragic circumstances.”
Jailing Donaldson, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him: “You were not responsible for the terrible driving which gave rise to the tragic death of a young woman of only 16.
“But you were responsible for providing assistance to the cowardly and selfish Jones, who had played a part in that death.”
After sentencing Donaldson, Judge Griffith-Jones added: “I want to express my condolences to Lucy’s family for what is a disaster for them, and the hope that now this litigation is out of the way it may help, if only to a tiny degree, for them to begin the healing process.”