A lorry driver has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for hitting and killing a three-year-old boy at a pedestrian crossing.
The tragic incident happened in March 2018, as Dean Phoenix drove through Wareham in Dorset. The court heard how Phoenix was sarcastically clapping at another motorist on the road when he missed a red light and hit three-year-old Jaiden Mangan.
Phoenix, 44, denied causing death by dangerous driving, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving. A jury cleared him of causing death by dangerous driving, and the lorry driver was jailed for 12 months.
As Phoenix’s sentence was read out, there were emotional and angry shouts in the court from Jaiden’s family.
The toddler’s grandmother shouted: ‘Is that all he gets?’ as she heard the 12-month sentence handed down at Bournemouth Crown Court. While Jaiden’s dad, James Mangan, was visibly angry and upset as he stormed out of the courtroom.
Other family members said there was ‘no justice’, while James’ mother, the boy’s grandmother, shouted:
He’s killed two people in his life and that’s all he gets? Fucking hell!
She too stormed out of the courtroom, shouting back: ‘There’s no justice!’
It was also revealed, as the Mirror reports, that Phoenix had previously been jailed for life in July 2004 after he was found guilty of strangling and killing his wife, 26-year-old Naomi Phoenix.
Authorities have, however, declined to say when the lorry driver was released.
Phoenix appeared at the recent court case via video link. When the family of Jaiden asked why, they were told it was because he had been on licence, and had been recalled to prison for breaching the terms of his licence following the previous conviction.
The Parole Board is now considering whether Phoenix will serve an additional six months jail time for breaching his licence, BBC News reports.
Speaking about the incident at the traffic lights, Phoenix told the court:
I gave a quick check. I didn’t see no-one. I was just observing what was in front of me. I could have [checked]. That’s why I pleaded guilty to death by careless [driving] – it was a mistake.
The court heard how Phoenix’s clapping had been recorded on dashcam by another motorist, and that the lorry driver did not perform ‘any of those basic checks that you would expect on a pedestrian crossing’.
Our thoughts are with the family of Jaiden Mangan.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.