'Coward' drink-driver killed cyclist in hit and run then claimed van was stolen

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·4 mins read
William Stallard, left, has been sentenced for causing Michael Waistell's death. (Reach)
William Stallard, left, has been sentenced for causing Michael Waistell's death. (Reach)

A drink driver who killed a father in a hit and run and then told told police his van had been stolen has been jailed.

Teesside Crown Court heard William Stallard drove away after hitting 58-year-old Michael Waistell, who was riding his mountain bike, while driving at 50 mph on a 30 mph road.

Stallard admitted causing death by dangerous driving, perverting the course of public justice and driving a motor vehicle while above the prescribed limit.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court that “no attempt” was made to stop and check on the victim, who suffered a “catastrophic and unsurvivable injury”.

“The collision would have been obvious, yet the driver continued to drive off,” he said.

William Stallard was jailed for eight years. (Reach)
William Stallard was jailed for eight years. (Reach)

“Having fatally injured Mr Waistell, the defendant then drove his van for a further 0.8 miles through residential streets.”

He said Stallard, from Hartlepool, pulled over to ask a woman to borrow her phone, then called 101 to say his van had been stolen.

He said police arrived at the woman’s home to speak with him, but added: “It is inconceivable that he did not know he had been involved in a serious and life-threatening collision with a cyclist.”

“The lie he told the operator on 101 and his attempt to evade justice for the death of Mr Waistell would persist throughout his interviews that day.”

Bennett said a witness saw Waistell move to the side to try and avoid the collision but was unable to do so.

The witness also thought he might get hit when Stallard mounted the curb but returned to the road, the court was told.

Bennett said neighbours were alerted by the sound of the van and the collision and people came to Waistell’s aid.

Michael Waistell was due to become a grandfather before he died. (Reach)
Michael Waistell was due to become a grandfather before he died. (Reach)

“It was clear that Mr Waistell had suffered a catastrophic and unsurvivable injury and that the collision had killed him instantly,” he added.

Stallard tested positive for cocaine use and was found to be over the legal alcohol limit of 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, providing a reading of 52, the court heard.

Waistell’s daughter Laura said her father, who cared for his wife, “deserves justice and we pray that he is able to get it so he can rest in peace and we as a family can try and move forward”.

He was due to become a grandfather for the first time but did not manage to meet his grandson.

She told Stallard, who cried as he appeared via videolink: “You are a coward who was full of alcohol and drugs. You knew you seriously hurt my dad but you left him to die and you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.

"I hope to God your children will never have to go through what we have experienced. This will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

"Your selfish actions since being reprimanded by denying what you've done initially, dragging your heels and not admitting to it for so long has not only wasted a lot of people’s time but also prolonged justice for our father's death.”

Defending Stallard, Stephen Constantine said the defendant had written a letter to the family. He added that as Stallard had a partner and two young children, his actions had “cost two families”.

Judge Howard Crowson told Stallard, as he sentenced him to eight years and four months in prison: “The selfishness of your driving was only matched by the selfishness of your behaviour after the event.

“You caused the collision. Your driving put yourself in a position where neither of you could avoid the collision.

“He was blameless and you were entirely to blame.”

Sergeant Stephen Clyburn, of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Nothing will ever bring back Mr Waistell and his families’ lives will never be the same, however, Stallard has now been brought to justice and he will spend a significant time behind bars.

“I hope this sentence goes some way towards helping Mr Waistell’s family move forward with their lives.”