Uninsured hit-and-run driver jailed after killing two-week-old baby on pavement in Walsall

Ciaran Leigh Morris
Ciaran Leigh Morris was just eighteen days old Credit: West Midlands Police

An uninsured driver who was using a phone when he hit and killed a two-week old baby in his pram in Walsall, has been jailed for six and a half years.

James Davis was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

The 35-year-old from Croxtalls Avenue in Walsall, was behind the wheel of a BMW 1 Series 116d when he 'drifted' across to the wrong side of the road and smashed into Ciaran Leigh Morris.

Ciaran, who was just eighteen days old, was being pushed along the Brownhills high street pavement on Easter Sunday (April 4th 2021) by his parents, when he was hit by a car driven by Davis.

Ciaran was taken to hospital but his injuries were too severe to survive. Ciaran’s mother also suffered a broken collar bone.

Davis had abandoned the car and immediately fled the scene, but around forty minutes later, he called police to tell them what he had done.

Watch the moment on CCTV when Davis fled the scene in Brownhills:

Davis denied causing Ciaran's death by dangerous driving, and claimed to have blacked out at the wheel, saying he could not remember hitting Ciaran's pram.

After the crash, Davis ran off and told a passer-by he "had killed a baby and was going down for a long time".

The trial heard Davis, who had a teenage passenger, had been travelling at 67mph in a 30mph zone shortly before the fatal crash.

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 Wolverhampton Crown Court:

"The last thing I remember was going starry-eyed. I can't remember any of it. It's like everything went blank."

After the crash, Davis ran off and told a passer-by he "had killed a baby and was going down for a long time".

Prosecutor James Curtis QC said: "This case concerns the tragic killing of an 18-day-old child by an act of exceptionally bad and dangerous driving by this defendant, James Davis".

"He was driving a small BMW saloon in Brownhills, Walsall - it was in a shopping area, populated by shoppers and passers-by".

James Davis Credit: West Midlands Police

"Driving conditions were perfect".

"Suddenly he made a manoeuvre which was to prove fatal".

"First he drifted, veered, out of his side of the road, over the centre line, and struck a car which was coming in the opposite direction, on the correct side".

"This did major damage to both cars".

"From there, the BMW swerved in a curve, on the wrong side of the road, and on to the opposite pavement, where a couple were wheeling their new baby, called Ciaran Morris".

A horse-drawn carriage carries the coffin of two-week old Ciaran Credit: BPM Media

He adds: "The car crashed into the pushchair, the pram, before hitting the wall and inevitably stopping".

"It caused fatal injuries to the head and body of that little child, who died in hospital soon afterwards despite all attempts to save him."

The prosecutor went on to say:

"He was fully fit, and he was clear-headed enough, the Crown say, to invent what we say is a false defence".

"The Crown say there is no medical excuse for this driving at all - that is fabrication."

An earlier inquest was told Ciaran died from "multiple trauma" injuries.

Ciaran's funeral took place on April 28th 2021, with the cortege, led by a horse-drawn hearse, passing near to the scene of the crash.

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects.

At the time Ciaran's parents paid tribute to their baby boy, saying: "Mommy’s and daddy’s hearts will always ache, we love you more than anything."

Tributes to little Ciaran from the community in Walsall Credit: BPM Media

They added: "We didn’t get to keep you for long but we are happy we had the chance to meet you, look after you and call you our son.

"Fly high angel".

A fundraising campaign to raise money for Ciaran's family has since raised thousands of pounds.

After today's verdict, 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. 

“Our family would be grateful if you can please now allow us to grieve in private.”