'Remorseless' driver over the limit on prescription drugs when he killed friend in Sussex car crash

150422-Mark Leadbeatter
Officers say Leadbeatter was responsible for a 'series of catastrophic events that day'. Credit: Sussex Police

A driver who 'expressed no remorse' was over the limit on prescription drugs when he killed his friend in a head-on car crash in Sussex.

Mark Leadbeatter was driving in Horsham in 2019 with his friend Roger Lees, who was in the back seat, when he crossed the carriageway and crashed into another car.

Leadbeatter sustained multiple serious injuries, but Roger Lees was pronounced dead at the scene. The occupants of the other car suffered minor injuries.

Just five minutes earlier, Leadbeatter had crashed into a van after failing to give way at the roundabout, causing serious injuries to the driver, but failed to stop.

A blood sample was taken from him while he was in hospital, which revealed he had 658mcg of diazepam per litre of blood in his system - the legal limit is 550mcg.

He denied any wrongdoing and throughout the trial, police said he 'expressed no remorse' and tried to pin the blame on Roger.

He was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

He was also jailed for two years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and one year for driving whilst uninsured. These will run alongside the nine year sentence.

He was also disqualified from driving for five years and must take an extended retest if he wants to drive again.

Detective Sergeant Kieran McDonald, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “Leadbeatter caused an immense amount of harm and suffering not only to his victims, but also to their loved ones.

"In particular, the family of Roger Lees had welcomed Leadbeatter into their lives and their home, only to be betrayed by his deceit."