Death crash driver facing jail after killing boy

THE parents of a nine-year-old boy struck down by a car as he crossed the road near his home have spoken of their relief after the man responsible was convicted death by careless driving.

John and Kelly Gibson’s nine-year-old son Michael was crossing the road to post some DVDs when he was hit by red Honda Civic driven by Richard Heeps.

The Coppins Green Primary School pupil suffered serious injuries and died the following day in hospital after the crash at 2pm on February 8 last year.

Heeps – who was previously convicted of driving without a license, insurance and MOT in 2006 – also hit a parked van which was shoved six metres along the road and his Honda then mounted a pavement and demolished a wall.

He was arrested shortly after the crash in Wellesley Road, Clacton.

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The 24-year-old from Herbert Road denied a charge of causing death by careless driving but a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

Heeps, who claimed Michael had run out in front of him, was warned by Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC warned him a prison sentence was “inevitable”.

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Heeps has been bailed until a pre-sentence report is completed ahead of a hearing next month.

Witnesses told the trial Heeps had been speeding in the moments before the crash with prosecutors saying he had been driving at between 40mph and 50mph in a 30mph area.

Speaking outside the court, Mr and Mrs Gibson said they were pleased Heeps would now be off the road and spoke of their love for their son.

Mr Gibson said: “It feels good that he has been found guilty but it will never be enough. As long as it keeps him off the road.

“This is a final acknowledgment that it was his fault. He has taken no responsibility, none whatsoever.

“It was very difficult listening to the evidence in there at times.”

The court room had been packed with members of Michael’s family and there were sighs of relief as the guilty verdict was returned.

Afterwards, the family described how Michael – who had younger brother, Joshua, and younger sister, Kayleigh, had been “becoming a little man” when he was so cruelly taken from them.

And Mrs Gibson added: “He was just a really lovely boy – happy go lucky – he had a good heart and was an intelligent boy.

“He was just enjoying his life.

“Heeps has taken no responsibility for his actions at all. The only time he shed tears was today and they were for himself.”

Afterwards, Inspector Steve Brewer, said: “This was a difficult collision to investigate, there was a limited number of witnesses who could tell us exactly what happened and even though we engaged the services of experts in the field of crash investigation it was not possible to give an exact speed that the defendants car was travelling immediately prior to the crash.

“I am pleased with today’s verdict and I hope that it will bring a small amount of comfort to the parents and family of Michael Gibson who very sadly died as a result of this incident.

“There is no sentence that any judge can pass that will truly reflect the loss and pain felt by the family.

“There is only one standard of driving and Richard Heeps failed to meet that standard, his actions have caused a huge amount of pain that will take many years to heal. I would like to thank those witnesses who did come forward and assist our investigation into this crash.”

Heeps, who previously admitted a charge of withholding information to obtain insurance, will be sentenced next month.

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