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UK: Zim-born banker jailed over fatal car crash

Sentenced to a spell behind bars ... Leroy Margolis

13/10/2017 00:00:00
by Cambridge-news.co.uk
Tragic misjudgement ... Leroy Margolis
  • Judge slams driver who killed unborn baby in devastating crash

  • Leroy Margolis was jailed for two years after a "tragic misjudgement"

LONDON: A 29-year-old driver who caused a devastating crash resulting in the death of an unborn baby has been jailed for two years.

Leroy Margolis, of Manville Road in Wandsworth, London, was driving a Volvo V40 on the A1307 Linton bypass on October 1 last year when he tried to overtake a lorry just before 8pm.

But halfway through the manoeuvre, Margolis hit a traffic island before ricocheting sideways into oncoming traffic – crashing into another car and ending up backwards in a bush.

Margolis collided with a VW Polo and the crash resulted in the passenger of the car, Louise Abbott, losing her unborn baby at 25-weeks-old.

Despite her friends’ efforts to shield the mum-to-be, the impact of the crash caused the unborn baby’s skull to fracture, the court was told.

Margolis, a corporate banker for Lloyds Bank, was found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Cambridge Crown Court last Friday, October 6 after a week-long trial.

On Thursday, Judge Jonathan Cooper sentenced Margolis to two years in prison, including a three-year driving ban with a one year added post prison.

Catastrophic driving


In his closing statement, Judge Cooper told Margolis that he made a "tragic misjudgement" when trying to overtake the lorry and that no sentence could justify the loss of Louise's unborn child, Layla.

Judge Cooper said that Margolis' driving was "catastrophic" and that his manoeuvre would have put anyone in danger, even if it was in daylight.

But in taking into account the sentence, he had to give significant mitigation to Margolis' personal circumstances, where the Zimbabwe-born banker has acted as an "anchor" to his family, particularly being a consistent carer for his disabled sister Lianne.

Judge Cooper added that he also received note from senior practitioners from Lloyds Bank that Margolis is a "rising star" and a "role model".


The judge concluded: “The starting point of three years imprisonment is aggravated by the appalling consequences to Louise Abbott.

"But it is mitigated to a significant extent by the two matters I’ve referred to; your role in the past in relation to your sister, your role in the future as a carer to her, and your exemplary character at work and the impact the sentence will have on your career.

“Mr Margolis the least sentence commensurate to this sentence is one of two years imprisonment."

Impatient and impetuous


Prosecutor Edward Renvoize had described Margolis' actions as "impatient and impetuous", and said there was no reason for him to overtake the lorry in wet conditions.

"Had it not been for him overtaking in these, I suggest, ludicrous circumstances at a speed that he didn't know... had he just sat there at 50 to make sure he had a decent opportunity to overtake, listen to the radio, relax, she [Louise] would have still have a baby," he said.

"The reason why he smashed into the island was that he wasn't paying attention.

"These aren't mistakes, they are errors of competency, they display a lackadaisical attitude to being careful, to put it generously.

"He should have known everything on that road. On my submission he fell so far, so far below the standards of a careful and competent driver."

Margolis told the court that he believed it was safe to overtake and still thought he had time to complete the manoeuvre when he saw the other car's headlights coming towards him.

Oliver Jarvis, defending Margolis, told the court he was of "unblemished character" and had accepted his mistake.

Fatal consequences

Jarvis said that Margolis did what anyone would have done because "people don't want to be stuck behind the lorry."

He told the court Margolis had told the truth from the start and simply hadn't seen any warning signs or the traffic island approaching.

PC Davey told the court on Wednesday (October 4): "The island has no reflective bollards - the thing that as a driver you would expect. Without those, you're left with an area in darkness with a light at a similar height to the forecourt behind it.

"Margolis hadn't seen it, and wouldn't then see it until it was within his [car] headlight range."

But the jury were unanimous in finding Margolis guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

PC Paul Nisbet, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire road policing unit, said: “This was a dangerous piece of driving which had fatal consequences.

“I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the Watts and Abbotts family, indeed to all those affected by such a terrific loss of a young life.

“I hope today’s conviction gives some solace and comfort in the knowledge that justice has been done.”

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