A speeding motorist who killed a baby in a hit-and-run when he ploughed into his pram has been jailed for six and a half years after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
James Paul Davis, 35, crashed into 18-day-old Ciaran Leigh Morris in a BMW while the tot was on his first ever outing on 4 April last year.
Davis was driving a BMW at 67mph in a 30mph zone moments before he smashed into the pram being wheeled by parents Camaron Morris and Codie Holyman.
The young parents, both aged 18 at the time, watched in horror as the car mounted the kerb and pinned the pram against a wall in Brownhills, Walsall, West Midlands.
Chilling footage released by police following the verdict shows the moment Davis lost control of his BMW and ploughed towards baby Ciaran.
CCTV captured Davis first clipping a car coming in the opposite direction before veering towards the pavement where parents Camaron Morris and Codie Holyman were walking with their newborn.
‘You allowed yourself to become avoidably distracted’
Passing sentence on the 35-year-old, Judge John Butterfield QC said Davis had not attempted to brake or steer before the collision.
The judge, who was told that Davis’s mobile was hidden from police for more than two months, told him: “As you drove along you allowed yourself to be avoidably distracted.
“I am sure that it was some operation of your phone because what was to happen afterwards with your phone is so highly suspicious.”
The judge also 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.
Davis, of Croxtalls Avenue, Walsall, was told he is likely to serve half his sentence before being released on licence. He was also banned from driving for seven years and three months.
After he was found guilty, it emerged that Davis had made 11 previous court appearances for 35 offences, 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.
Ciaran died in hospital from injuries
Horrified witnesses had desperately tried to revive the tot by performing road-side CPR but he died hours later in hospital from his catastrophic injuries.
Dad-of-one Davis, of Bloxwich, went on trial accused of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death while uninsured.
On Friday he was found guilty of both charges after a jury spent two hours and six minutes deliberating before returning their unanimous verdicts.
Jurors heard previously how Davis claimed he was only doing 20mph and suffered from a heart problem which caused him to “black out” moments before the crash.
In the aftermath of the horror smash, frantic dad Camaron was heard to scream at Davis: “You just killed my son.”
Both parents also cried out “the baby, the baby” as they frantically tried to revive their son on the pavement.
Davis was later found to have traces of cannabis in his system after he was arrested at his girlfriend’s house shortly after the crash.
James Curtis, QC, prosecuting, had told the court: “He did a manoeuvre which proved fatal.
“The defendant got out of his car and ran off on foot, down an alleyway, past a petrol station and through some undergrowth.
“Once at a safe distance he approached a passerby saying he killed a baby and was going down for a long time.
“This was a classic intentional distraction with fatal consequences.
“This was certainly dangerous driving. Clear disregard for the rules. Clear disregard for those around. He was not even insured.”
Davis told police he ‘blacked out’
Police bodycam footage played to the court showed Davis telling PC Tom Rust as he was arrested: “A baby, f***s sake. I’m sorry bab. I blacked out, I was doing 20mph.“I weren’t even speeding or nothing. I blacked out. I ain’t killed no one on purpose. F***ing hell man.
“Injuries to my legs are from running through the bushes. I knew I passed because I knew it was happening, it was like a dream.
“I was thinking I’d wake up in a minute. I heard the banging and that. When it all stopped, I was in the car and I thought what’s happening like.
“I was surrounded by people.
“My mate said I was passed out behind the wheel.
“If I was speeding I would be in some state wouldn’t I? I accept I’m going to prison if somebody’s died.“People were screaming ‘I killed a baby’ so I just wanted to see my baby before I go.”
Mum Codie suffered a broken collar bone and a bruised foot and has constant back pain as a result of the crash.
‘Our lives will never be the same’
Detective Sergeant Julie Lyman, from the force’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, 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.”
Ciaran’s parents said in a heartbreaking statement: “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.”