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Sittingbourne biker jailed after admitting killing teenage friend in wheelie stunt in Murston before funeral

A father-of-three wept as a court heard how he killed a friend as he "showed off" performing wheelies on a motorbike before a funeral in Sittingbourne.

Robert Varrier, 29, covered his face as a judge heard how he was heard shouting: "I've killed him.." after the tragedy.

Footage shows Varrier doing wheelies along the road

He admitted causing the death of Aaron Smith, 17, as hundreds of people, including children, lined Tonge Road, Murston in April before the funeral.

Varrier was captured on mobile phone footage performing a series of wheelies on his off-road Suzuki motorbike on April 16 and it was shown in court.

But Maidstone Crown Court heard how as the motocross enthusiast sped down the busy road - he ploughed into Mr Smith causing massive injuries.

The bike then struck and injured 27-year-old Warren Richards - before Varrier was then thrown into the road, momentarily knocking himself out.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis said he was later heard shouting: "I've killed him...I've killed him."

Robert Varrier has been locked up. Picture: Kent Police
Robert Varrier has been locked up. Picture: Kent Police

Now Varrier, of Limehouse Court, Sittingbourne, has been jailed for 63 months after admitting his dangerous driving killed Mr Smith and injured Mr Richards.

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC also banned the waste removal driver for 67 months.

He told him: "The facts of this case are utterly tragic but your driving was manifestly inappropriate behaviour. What you did was deliberate and brazen, you were showing off."

The prosecutor told how family and friends of Billy Rye met in Murston before travelling to the crematorium for the funeral.

Varrier and others - with the encouragement of friends - joined the procession to pay tribute to the late Mr Rye who also loved motocross.

Aaron Smith, a young dad, died from his injuries after being hit by Varrier's bike
Aaron Smith, a young dad, died from his injuries after being hit by Varrier's bike

But Mr Jarvis said that as hundreds of men, women and children lined the route, Varrier began performing a number of wheelies up and down Tonge Road, and on one occasion was waving to friends.

Then as he was repeating the stunt, at speed, Mr Smith stepped into the road and was hit by Varrier's bike before it collided with Mr Richards, who was sat on his bike.

The teenager received injuries to his pelvis and ribs and Varrier broke a jaw in the incident.

But Mr Smith, who was airlifted to hospital in London, died from his injuries, the court heard.

Mr Jarvis said that before police could arrive, Varrier was taken to the home of a friend and his bike was "spirited" away.

Police and paramedics at the scene in April
Police and paramedics at the scene in April

Varrier was later tracked to his home but refused to say where his bike had gone.

Mr Jarvis added that Varrier was "showing off and demonstrating his prowess" but Judge Griffith-Jones added: "This was a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road."

Danny Moore, defending, said Varrier was "a hard-working and loving family man" who had made the "brave but sensible decision" to plead guilty to the offences.

Speaking after the case, DI Lee Neiles from Kent Police' serious collision investigation unit said: "Varrier undertook a dangerous and appalling level of driving on a residential street among a large group of pedestrians having absolutely no regard for anyone else's safety.

"Following the collision his main concern was evading capture and prosecution and he only admitted his guilt several weeks later when he realised the evidence secured and presented was so vast it gave him no choice but to plead guilty.

Police and paramedics were called to Tonge Road, Murston at the time of the tragedy
Police and paramedics were called to Tonge Road, Murston at the time of the tragedy

"This case has highlighted the devastation of driving dangerously on our roads, in particular performing stunts on off-road motorcycles.

"Not only has the driver received a prison sentence, he has to live with the fact that he has caused someone's death for the rest of his life."

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Read more:All the latest news from Sittingbourne


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