1. ITV Report

Prison sentence for drink and drug driver who killed 12-year-old girl

A man has appeared at York Crown Court and pleaded guilty to causing the death of 12-year-old Kaitlin Mitchell.

37-year-old Gary Smith of Byram, Knottingley was sentenced to five years and nine months imprisonment for driving with both drink and drugs in his system and hitting Kaitlin with his car on 28th September 2017.

He was also handed a seven and a half year driving ban.

Custody picture of Gary Smith Credit: North Yorkshire Police

The collision occurred as Kaitlin was crossing the road, after getting off her school bus on West Acres in Byram.

A red Vauxhall Astra, driven by Smith, collided with the victim, leaving her with serious head injuries. Smith then drove off, failing to stop at the scene.

Kaitlin was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where she underwent emergency brain surgery. Due to the extent of her injuries she never recovered and died in hospital a week later.

Kaitlin Mitchell Credit: North Yorkshire Police

After hitting Kaitlin, Smith made a false 999 call to police, reporting that his car had been stolen from his driveway. However, CCTV cameras captured Smith making his way over to the local supermarket and ordering a cab to take him home.

When taken into custody Smith was tested for drugs. He was found to have 170ug benzoylecgonine in his system, a derivative of cocaine.

Commenting on the case and the sentence passed, the Senior Investigating Officer said:

The decision Smith made on that day in September 2017 has caused an utter tragedy.

To drive with both alcohol and illegal drugs in your system is an inherently selfish act. That this led to the death of a young girl with her whole life ahead of her is horrific. To then lie to police in an attempt to cover up the crime is not only selfish, but also despicable and cowardly.

The sentence passed today will not bring Kaitlin back. To have a child, and sister, loved so much by her family cruelly taken away is completely heart-breaking. However, I do hope that today provides Kaitlin’s family with some form of closure and allows them to begin to move forward with their lives.

– Inspector Dave Barf