A hit-and-run driver who killed a newborn baby after crashing into his pram while using a phone behind the wheel has been jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Ciaran Morris was just 18 days old when James Davis, 35, crashed into his pram in Brownhills High Street near Walsall on Easter Sunday last year.
Ciaran’s parents had taken him on one of his first trips out when a BMW, driven by Morris, mounted the pavement after colliding with another car.
Jurors at Wolverhampton Crown Court were shown CCTV of the crash and told that Davis – who was driving uninsured and had a teenage passenger – had been traveling at 67mph in a 30mph zone shortly before the crash.
He had not attempted to brake or steer before the collision, which also left Ciaran’s mother with a broken collarbone.
Davis then hid his mobile from police for more than two months, which the presiding judge called “highly suspicious”.
Judge John Butterfield QC said: “As you drove along, you allowed yourself to be avoidably distracted.
“I am sure it was some operation of your phone.”
After the crash, Davis was seen on CCTV running away from the scene. He told a passer-by he “had killed a baby and was going down for a long time”.
He called police around 40 minutes later to tell them what he had done.
On footage of his arrest, he can be seen telling officers: “If I have done this, I just want to see my baby before I do, so I’ve come here.”
Davis, of Croxstalls Avenue, Walsall, tried to claim that he’d fainted behind the wheel.
But during the trial, prosecutor James Curtis QC told the jury: “He was fully fit, and he was clear-headed enough, the Crown say, to invent what we say is a false defense.
“The Crown say there is no medical excuse for this driving at all – that is fabrication.”
Passing sentence, Judge Butterfield remarked on the “cruelness of fate” of the crash, which happened as Ciaran was being walked in his pram for the first time, while Davis had taken a longer route due to nice weather.
During his evidence, Davis accepted reaching 67mph in a 30mph area, but said he was driving within the speed limit when the crash occurred.
He told the court: “The last thing I remember was going starry-eyed. I can not remember any of it. It’s like everything went blank.”
Read more: Over £ 25,000 raised for funeral of Ciaran Morris
After Davis was found guilty, it emerged he had made 11 previous court appearances for 35 offenses – including driving without insurance in 2003, twice in 2004 and again in 2006, drug-dealing, driving while uninsured, drink-driving and theft of a vehicle .
As Davis was sentenced, Ciaran’s parents said: “Ciaran our precious baby boy, in the short time he was with us, was loved so much. The unexpected and sudden circumstances of losing Ciaran has caused great pain, and our lives will never be the same without him. “
Detective Sergeant Julie Lyman, from West Midlands Police, said: “The death of baby Ciaran shocked the community and support poured in for his young parents. Their grief at what should have been one of the happiest times of their lives is unimaginable, and the conviction of Davis cannot compensate for their loss.
“Our thoughts remain with them and their families.”