Saturday 23 March 2019

Man jailed for killing 11-year-old 'genius' in hit-and-run had three previous driving bans, court hears

Michael Ricardo Robinson who has been jailed at Manchester Crown Court for six years and eight months
Photo credit: GMP/PA Wire
Michael Ricardo Robinson who has been jailed at Manchester Crown Court for six years and eight months Photo credit: GMP/PA Wire
11-year-old Taylor Schofield Photo credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

Kim Pilling

A hit-and-run motorist with three previous driving bans has been jailed for six years and eight months for killing an 11-year-old boy.

Michael Ricardo Robinson was travelling at 55mph in a 20mph zone when he struck Taylor Schofield as he attempted to cross the road on his mountain bike near his home in Beswick, Manchester.

Robinson then "cowardly" fled the scene in Albert Street on the early evening of January 12 as the youngster lay in the road, before the 31-year-old handed himself in to police more than an hour later.

When Robinson pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court on Monday to causing death by dangerous driving in the built-up residential area, it emerged he had been disqualified from driving on three previous occasions.

11-year-old Taylor Schofield
Photo credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
11-year-old Taylor Schofield Photo credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

The father-of-one was banned from driving for two years as a youth in September 2004 after he chased another vehicle before he rammed it.

He also received an eight-month detention and training order for the offences of dangerous driving, assault and affray.

Robinson was back before the courts in 2006 for another motoring offence when he drove a quad bike on a public road in a dangerous manner while disqualified.

He was sentenced to a community order and given another two-year driving ban.

In April 2017 he was disqualified for a third time for driving while under the influence of drugs and was handed a 12-month ban and a fine.

Passing sentence on Wednesday, Judge Martin Walsh said those previous offences further aggravated his culpability.

He told Robinson: "I want to make the self-evident point that nothing that this court can do will put right the wrong that has been done and it should be understood that the sentence that I am about to impose cannot, and is not intended to, reflect the value of the young life that was tragically lost on that evening.

"Taylor Schofield, a young boy with considerable potential and with his whole life ahead of him, was killed as a result of the dangerous manner in which you drove your motor vehicle."

Judge Walsh told Robinson he would have received a 10-year jail term if he had been convicted after trial but reduced the sentence to reflect his early guilty plea.

He added: "It is clear to me that this is a case where there was on your part a deliberate decision to ignore or have a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road.

"You took the decision to drive at a speed of 55mph in a severely restricted area. The reduced speed limit and the obvious reasons for it were deliberately ignored by you and it was this that created the gross and obvious danger which ultimately led to the collision which resulted in Taylor's tragic death."

Robinson, of Toft Road, Gorton, was disqualified from driving for 10 years and four months and ordered to take another extended retest at the end of the ban.

Judge Walsh said the defendant's decision to flee the scene after he stopped briefly was a "cowardly and selfish act", although he noted that he phoned his solicitor, Brian Koffman, a short time later and handed himself in.

Earlier this week, Mr Koffman told the court that his client had "panicked" as people gathered at the collision scene.

Robinson took the chance to say goodbye to his five-year-old daughter before a friend drove him to a local police station, the court heard.

Mr Koffman added that Robinson was genuinely remorseful and wanted to apologise to Taylor's family for the hurt and harm he had caused them.

Taylor's family did not wish to speak to reporters following sentencing, but his parents, Beverley Law and Terry Sheehan, issued statements through Greater Manchester Police.

Mrs Law said: "My son Taylor will be so sadly missed by us all - Mum, Matthew, Sophie, Dean, John, friends and family. We will never forget you. You are always in our hearts."

Mr Sheehan said: "Taylor, you are my world. We were going on holiday this year and that was tragically taken away from us. You loved your football and those are memories I will hold dearly. My boy, my life will never be the same without you. All I feel is pure devastation and I will feel that every day. Love Dad."

In her victim personal statement to the court, Mrs Law said her son, a keen Manchester United fan, was "a genius" who excelled at all subjects and was in the highest sets in his first year at Droylsden Academy.

She said: "He took real pride in his work and was popular with staff and pupils from all years. From the moment he entered the school he was seen high-fiving older pupils.

"He was a very bright, intelligent kid who was always smiling, making jokes. He has been taken away too soon. It's too quiet in the house without him."

Press Association

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