A PURFLEET COUPLE who attempted to cover up involvement in a fatal road accident which left a much-loved graphic designer dead have both been given four months in prison.
Mathew Clark, 36 and Jenni-Lee Campbell, 35, both received the sentences amidst chaotic scenes at Basildon Crown Court.
The court heard how on Thursday the 17th of February 2011, Darren Maeder was jogging across Tank Hill Road, Purfleet when he was struck by a silver Mercedes car driven by Mathew Clark. As a result of that collision, Darren Maeder died at the scene.
Mathew Clark decided not to stop and continued his journey leaving Darren dying at the roadside.
Along with his partner at the time, Jennie-lee Campbell, they conspired to hide his involvement in the crash and went to great lengths to conceal evidence.
Prosecuting, Mr Clark told the court that once he got home, Clark and Campbell returned to the scene but saw that the ambulance service were there. They returned home and Campbell set about cleaning the car, washing his clothes and disposing of what they perceived of as evidence.
The couple then went to a shop in West Thurrock where they took the name of a person whose ad was in the window and set about filling out a DVLA form which would try and show that “Abdul Singh” had taken ownership of the car on the day before the fatal collision.
The couple then set about what was described as plan B. At 2300 hrs, they attended Grays police station, where Campbell told the police that she was the driver. Their reasoning for this was that “Campbell would be able to do the time in prison.”
But plans changed again, on being informed that Mr Maeder had died. Campbell told police: “I can’t do this. I wasn’t driving.”
Campbell subsequently pled guilty at the earliest opportunity but Clark pled not guilty right up until January when he changed his plea to guilty.
In mitigation for Campbell, Mr Forsyth told the court that Campbell had suffered a “wretched” childhood and had suffered terrible abuse at the hands of her step-father and father.
In mitigation for Clark, Ms Blain said that his life since the accident had been a nightmare as he had lost his job, lost his relationship with Campbell and become an object of vilification and hate.
Even before sentencing had begun, he had complained to the police that he had been assaulted outside the courtroom.
Sentencing had to be stopped on several occasions because of the behaviour of Campbell, who appeared to be extremely drunk. A bucket had to be rushed to the dock as she indicated she was going to be sick. She mumbled and muttered throughout, having to be warned by Judge Pooles on several occasions. Campbell was even heard to threaten Clark that she would “Kill him.”
Mathew Clark was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice, one months imprisonment for failing to stop to run concurrently and a period of 12 months disqualification from driving.
Jennie lee Campbell was sentenced to four months imprisonment for perverting the course of justice and 6 months disqualification from driving to run concurrently.
On hearing the sentence, Campbell tried to attack Clark and had to be restrained by four security officers who led her away in handcuffs.
In a statement afterwards, Inspector Kevin May said: “On behalf of the Serious Collision Investigation unit I would like to thank Darren’s family for their support throughout this investigation and our thoughts are with all Darren’s family and friends at this time.
As the Senior investigating officer for this investigation I would like to pay particular thanks to Pc Tony Wilmot and Pc Daniel Waller who worked incredibly hard to bring this case to court.
Essex police are committed to reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of Essex and will continue to protect the public from drivers whose standards fall below acceptable levels and those that seek to interfere with the course of justice.”