In the Media

Porsche 'joyrider' who killed boy, 8, jailed for six years

PUBLISHED March 20, 2012

Car mechanic Gary Reader, 32, hit schoolboy Ryan Fleming after taking out customer's sports car in Maldon, Essex

A former Kwik Fit mechanic who killed an eight-year-old boy while driving a customer's Porsche 911 has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Ryan Fleming died in hospital after being hit by the sports car as he crossed a road in Maldon, Essex, in January last year.

Tyre-fitter Gary Reader, 32, was jailed at Chelmsford crown court after last month admitting causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

Ex-Kwik Fit apprentice Timothy Smith, 19, who was the passenger in the Porsche, was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicle-taking.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, judge Charles Gratwicke told Reader the consequences of his dangerous driving were "horrifying". "This was not your vehicle, it was not a vehicle that you drove frequently or were experienced with.

"Therefore there followed, as this court has heard, a course of persistent dangerous driving, with you flagrantly disregarding the rules of the road and having a complete disregard of the danger to other road users that you posed as you drove that vehicle at speed along the highway."

Reader, of Tiptree, Essex, shook his head slightly as he was led away to begin his sentence.

Gratwicke told Smith he "encouraged and egged on" Reader, adding: "You were part of the tragic chain of events which led to such tragic and awful consequences."

As Smith was led down to the cells, one of his relatives shouted after him: "Love you, Tim." From the other side of the courtroom a member of Ryan's family called back: "We love our Ryan more. We won't see Ryan again, but you'll get to see him again."

The owner of the silver Porsche 911 Carrera took it to the Kwik Fit garage in Maldon on the morning of Saturday 15 January 2011 to have the rear tyres replaced, the court heard. Just before 2.30pm Reader said he was going to take the sports car for a drive, and set off with Smith in the passenger seat.

Witnesses described seeing the Porsche being driven "aggressively" and "at a stupid speed", accelerating and then braking hard. Some estimated it was travelling at over 80mph.

A woman filling up her car at a Tesco petrol station saw Smith "laughing and jumping up and down" in the passenger seat and told police she was in no doubt that the two men were "larking around".

Another witness told officers she had said to herself: "They're driving like idiots, they're going to kill someone."

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson told the court: "It was no more and no less than a joyride."

Moments before the collision, motorist Richard Waylen heard a loud roar from the Porsche as though the driver of the sportscar had "floored the accelerator".

"Mr Waylen immediately saw what he thought was a bag flying in the air. It wasn't ? it was Ryan," Jackson said.

The young boy, who was only 4ft 8ins, hit the Porsche's windscreen and was thrown an estimated 49m by the force of the collision, the court heard.

An expert estimated that the high-performance car was travelling at between 50 and 76mph when it hit Ryan, who would have died almost instantly. The speed limit on that stretch of the road was 50mph. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds