Pair jailed for lying after fatal accident

11:00am Monday 12th March 2012

A MAN and woman have been jailed for lying about who was driving when a car hit and killed a jogger.

Jennie-Lee Campbell and Matthew Clark perverted the course of justice by pretending Campbell had been driving, instead of Clark, when a Mercedes hit Darren Maeder, 37, in Purfleet.

Campbell – whose father Stuart Campbell killed her teenaged cousin Danielle Jones – and Clark were both jailed for four months at Basildon Crown Court yesterday, after revealing their lies to cops.

Peter Clark, prosecuting, told the court Mr Maeder, a graphic designer, was listening to his iPod while jogging along Tank Hill Road, at 7pm, on February 17 last year, when he was hit by the car being driven by Clark.

Clark, 36, of Centurion Way, Purfleet, knew he’d hit someone so fled to the home he shared with his girlfriend Campbell, 35, of St Chad’s Road, Tilbury.

The couple panicked, wrongly thinking Clark was in serious trouble, and hatched an initial plan to set someone up.

They went to a post office, obtained a car registration document and posted it to the DVLA saying they had sold the Mercedes to Abdul Singh – a man whose details were on a poster in the shop window – the previous day.

Campbell cleaned the car of Clark’s DNA and abandoned it two miles away, burnt MOT documents, washed Clark’s clothes and discarded the car keys.

Later that evening, they realised their cover-up wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny and developed another plan which would see Campbell take the blame.

She believed she would cope better with prison and felt indebted to her boyfriend for taking her and her son in.

They went to Grays police station and told cops Campbell had been driving, but, after discovering Mr Maeder had died, both revealed the truth that evening.

There was no evidence to suggest Clark’s driving was dangerous, so if he had reported the accident immediately no offence would have been committed.

Mr Maeder’s injuries were so severe he wouldn’t have survived, even if Clark had stopped and called an ambulance.

Campbell received four months in jail and was banned from driving for six months after admitting perverting the course of justice and driving the Mercedes while disqualified and uninsured as she abandoned the car.

Clark got the same prison sentence and was disqualified from driving for a year, after admitting perverting the course of justice and failing to stop after an accident.

Recorder Poole, sentencing, said their “very serious” actions stood in the way of police conducting a prompt investigation and aggravated Mr Maeder’s family’s grief.

He said: “For some months after, Darren Maeder’s family remained concerned it might have been possible something could have been done to save their son.”

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