Father Robert Lawrence jailed over lies after teenager Kyle Coen's death crash in Bapchild
by Keith Hunt
A father who panicked and drove off after being involved in a
fatal accident with a teenage cyclist has been jailed for six
In sentencing Robert Lawrence, a judge stressed he was "in no
way to blame" for the death of 14-year-old Kyle Coen.
Lawrence, of Railway Cottages, Barrow Green, Teynham, was being
punished for perverting the course of justice by lying to the
police that his car had been stolen and failing to stop after an
He was also banned from driving for 12 months.
Maidstone Crown Court heard popular Sittingbourne Community
College pupil Kyle (pictured right) was cycling on the A2 in London
Road towards Teynham with a friend just after 9pm on July 30 last
John Keal, prosecuting, said Kyle went to the centre of the road
to turn right and was struck by Lawrence's Fiat Bravo travelling in
the same direction by Bapchild cricket ground.
"Kyle died shortly afterwards as a result of the injuries he
sustained," he said. "There has never been any charge in relation
to Mr Lawrence's driving - simply that the collision occurred and
"He then drove off without stopping. Fortunately, or more by
luck than judgement, emergency services were contacted shortly
afterwards, albeit not by Mr Lawrence himself.
"An ambulance crew attended and a member of the public performed
CPR, in vain."
Floral tributes left at
the scene where Kyle Coen was knocked down on the A2 London Road,
Mr Keal said it was not until 9.40pm that Lawrence, 24, spoke to
the police. He then made up an elaborate story about his car being
stolen after he stopped to relieve himself in bushes.
He claimed he phoned his primary schoolteacher girlfriend and
they found the car. He complained: "They smashed my car up and
everything." He continued the lie when officers arrived on the
He was arrested just before 10.45pm on suspicion of causing
death by dangerous driving and it was then he admitted he was
driving at the time.
"I just panicked," he said. He maintained he was alone in the
car but when CCTV showed there was a passenger he admitted it was
Mr Keal said Lawrence, who has a 19-month-old boy, had a
conviction in 2008 for drink-driving. He also had a conviction for
criminal damage in 2009.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens told Lawrence, who admitted the
offences: "The circumstances surrounding this case are tragic.
"I pass a sentence that reflects your offending from the moment
you drove off until the moment one-and-a-half hours later when you
accepted you were the driver."
Judge St John-Stevens (pictured right)
said it would never be known why Kyle swerved or pulled in front of
Lawrence’s car, but the circumstances were tragic.
"What must be understood by anybody listening to my remarks is
that you are in no way to blame for the accident, which indeed was
an accident in the true sense of the word," he told Lawrence.
"You fall to be sentenced for your criminal acts from the moment
you vehicle strikes that cyclist and thereafter, and not the cause
of the collision.
"You realised your car had collided with the cyclist but rather
than stopping to see what the consequences were and calling an
ambulance, you continued your journey, not reflecting on what had
been caused and the tragic consequences."
It was not until he was confronted by the police that he
revealed the truth.
"From everything I have read, you are a family man and this has
had a profound effect upon you. There is, in my judgement, genuine
remorse for what you did.
"You clearly were in shock and panicked. I accept when you gave
the lies to the police you did not appreciate the consequences of
The judge added: "I repeat you do not fall to be sentenced for
any act that caused the tragic death of Kyle Coen, but your actions
"I have anxiously considered whether it would be right to
suspend the sentence. In my judgement, it would not."
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