Belfast Telegraph

Each birthday will be so painful now, says sister born on same date as NI man killed by driver who didn’t even have a licence

Death driver Thomas Bimson arriving at court in Liverpool
Death driver Thomas Bimson arriving at court in Liverpool
Matthew Bradley from Glenavy who was killed on a stag trip to the city

By Lynda Roughley

An unqualified driver who ploughed into a young Northern Irish man crossing a Liverpool road in a hit and run has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

Thomas Bimson was warned he faces a "substantial period of imprisonment" over the death of Matthew Bradley in 2017.

Tragically, Mr Bradley was the second member of his family to die in a road traffic accident.

After the verdicts yesterday, the eldest of his three sisters read a moving impact statement.

Bimson, who had spent the evening drinking with friends, did not stop at the scene on Liverpool's waterfront, but sped off in the high performance BMW 330X, which was on hire to front seat passenger Ibrar Saddique.

He did not hand himself in to police for three days.

The two men abandoned the vehicle, for which insurance had expired, shortly after the collision and got a taxi back to Bimson's nearby home, which took them past the scene where emergency services were trying to treat the 24-year-old victim.

Mr Bradley, the deceased, was a landscape gardener originally from Glenavy, Co Antrim.

He had crossed two lanes of The Strand by the Hilton Hotel at about 11.45 pm on November 3, 2017 before being struck by the BMW.

Relatives of the victim wept after the unanimous verdicts were returned and his sister, Clare Kemp, read her impact statement to the court.

She told how their brother David had died in a road traffic accident when Matthew was 11 months old and the family had been devastated by that death.

Matthew was exactly 10 years younger than herself, she said, and "each birthday will now be approached with pain and regret of what should have been, rather than celebration."

She said the four siblings were very close and supportive and she had been 10 weeks' pregnant at the time of Matthew's death and he did not know he was to have a nephew.

One of her sisters dropped out of university after his death and though she has since returned, "she had lost a year of her life". Mrs Kemp, who now has to take anti-depressants, said: "Watching him coming into the house in a coffin is singularly the most painful thing I have ever done in my life."

Bimson (23), of Waterloo Warehouse, Vauxhall, Liverpool, who had never taken a driving test, was convicted of causing death by driving without insurance and without a licence.

Saddique (34), of Sunnybank Lane, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, was convicted of aiding and abetting causing death by driving while uninsured.

The court heard that involved him "encouraging or intending to encourage Bimson to drive without insurance and in a manner open to proper criticism and which contributed in some more than minimal way to the death".

The two men, who denied the allegations, were remanded in custody.

Judge Neil Flewitt, QC, warned Bimson: "It is inevitable there will be a substantial period of imprisonment." He said the position was "less clear" with Saddique.

Liverpool Crown Court had heard that the victim, who had been living in Guildford, Surrey, and was in the city for a stag party, was thrown into the air for about 30 metres before landing.

"The BMW however made no attempt to stop and sped off down the Strand whilst Matthew Bradley lay on the floor with catastrophic injuries."

He was pronounced dead at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said Martine Snowdon, prosecuting.

CCTV footage showed Bimson drinking with friends in the Malmaison Hotel further along the waterfront from the Hilton and being joined by Saddique.

Later, at 11.45pm Mr Bradley was standing outside the Hilton. CCTV footage showed him walking towards the road and a taxi driver in the first lane saw him run into the road and cross in front of him.

Mr Bradley paused before entering the next lane and the driver in that lane braked to allow him to cross safely.

"It was at that moment that Thomas Bimson sped past the Range Rover in the third lane and struck Matthew Bradley," Ms Snowdon said.

The jury heard that by the time Bimson handed himself in to police it was not possible to test what his alcohol levels had been at the time of the accident.

He told the court that he had not seen Mr Bradley until it was too late, but denied he had been driving dangerously.

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