Pair jailed after high speed race killed North Tyneside father

Two speeding motorists who killed a father from West Allotment during a race through a town have been jailed.

Craig Cooke was driving home to be with his young family for Christmas on December 23, 2013, when his Citroen Xsara Picasso was hit head-on by a Ford Fiesta on Beacon Hill Road, Newark, near the A1 in Nottinghamshire.

Allen and Leach’s decision to race each other at high speed on a wet road had tragic consequences and has left a family devastated

Detective Constable Paul Jaycock, of Nottinghamshire Police

George Allen, 19, of Cludd Avenue, and Callum Leach, 21, of Beacon Hill Road, both in Newark, pleaded guilty at Nottinghamshire Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury to a female passenger by dangerous driving.

And on Monday, Leach was sentenced to nine years in prison and Allen was sentenced to nine years in a youth detention centre.

The pair were also banned from driving for ten years and sentenced to 30 months in prison for causing serious injury to the passenger in Allen’s car.

The court heard that the pair had been racing each other through Newark, with witnesses reporting them reaching speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Allen lost control of his car on Beacon Hill Road, close to the A1 bridge.

His Fiesta clipped a kerb before crossing into the opposite carriageway where he collided with a Citroen Picasso being driven by Mr Cooke, 25, who suffered multiple fractures and died from his injuries.

The collision also caused serious injuries to a female passenger travelling in George Allen’s car.

Mr Cooke leaves behind his wife Mel and their young daughter Codie, who is now aged four.

He had been in the Army for six years and left earlier in 2013 to spend more time with his family.

In a statement read out in court, his widow, Mel, described Mr Cooke as a hero and role model.

“He was my whole life,” she said.

“I still cry every day as I think about him all the time.

“However I have to face the morning with a smile for the sake of Codie, our daughter, but inside I just want to scream.”

Judge Michael Stokes QC said “premeditated bad driving” led to the horror crash.

He told the pair: “Craig Cooke was a hero and you were anything but.

“You return to your family... he will not.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Paul Jaycock, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Allen and Leach’s decision to race each other at high speed on a wet road had tragic consequences and has left a family devastated.

“We can only hope the terrible events of that day can serve as stark lesson to other drivers about the consequences of driving thoughtlessly, at high speeds and with no regard for road conditions and other road users.”