Southbridge man sentenced for hit and run

BY MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 15:32 08/02/2010
hamilton
SENTENCED: Phillip Hamilton has been sentenced for careless driving under the influence of alcohol causing the death of cyclist Jens Richarson.

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A drunk Springston driver who killed a PhD student cycling home has been sentenced to 12 months home detention.

Phillip Kirkwood Hamilton, driving a 1995 BMW, hit Jens Richardon, 34, from behind on August 6 last year on the Springston Leeston Road near Lincoln in Canterbury. Richardon was killed instantly. Hamilton had been drinking for about five hours before the accident.

Judge Philip Moran, in the Christchurch District Court, said he believed public outrage at the offending and the need for deterrence could be achieved without jailing Hamilton.

The offender was clearly remorseful and he was ``moved by the act of forgiveness'' from Richardon's widow Andrea Kruger, who kissed Hamilton after reading a heart wrenching victim impact statement to the court.

Hamilton had previously been a useful and contributing member of society and was mortified at his actions, Judge Moran said.

Judge Stephen Coyle convicted him in the Christchurch District Court on November 11 2009.

Police prosecutor Anselm Williams said Hamilton and his brother helped a family move house during the morning of August 6 and he then had a sandwich for lunch.

The pair went to a bar at Rolleston at 2.30pm and drank and placed bets at the TAB. Hamilton drank about 10 pints (5.7 litres) of beer before 6.30pm. Hamilton was seen slouched over the bar and appeared to be falling asleep. Bar staff told his brother he would not be served because he was drunk.

Just after 7pm Hamilton set off in his BMW car, which had no warrant of fitness but was registered.

Richardon, 34, was a PhD agricultural science student at Lincoln University. A German national, he had been living in New Zealand since 2000.

His bike was showing a reflectorised strip and a flashing rear light, and he was wearing a helmet.

Hamilton's car struck him from behind, throwing him on to the grass verge and killing him instantly.

The impact smashed the car's windscreen and knocked off the number plate at the scene. Hamilton stopped briefly but did not check if he had hit anyone.

He drove home, where the police arrived at 11.20pm, having found the number plate.

Hamilton had drunk more beer by then, and his reading was 661 micrograms of alcohol to a litre of breath. The legal limit is 400mcg.

He told police he knew he had hit a cyclist but panicked because he had been drinking, Williams said.

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