Colin Smith was stoned when he mowed down two cyclists and killed them (Image: Liverpool Echo)
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A stoned driver who mowed down two cyclists and killed them while speeding in a stolen car has been jailed for just 11 years.
Colin Smith ran into mum-of-two Clare Killey and dad-of-two Anthony Cope when he was doing 72mph in a 40mph zone.
Smith, 23, was more than twice the cannabis limit as he drove the white Ford Fiesta RS Turbo which had false number plates, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The coward left his victims to die, then tried to blame another driver, who he claimed "pulled out" in front of him in Speke, Liverpool.
However, today Smith finally admitted he was at fault.
Colin Smith finallly admitted he was at fault
(Image: Liverpool Echo)
Smith was found guilty of causing both cyclists' deaths and seriously injuring Katy Nicholson, a passenger in another car.
Judge David Potter jailed Smith, of Warrington, Cheshire, for 11 years. He was also issued with a three-year driving ban following his release from prison.
The judge said the impact on the victims' families was "incalculable" after the court heard heartbreaking victim impact statements about the two parents.
He said: "They were both in the prime of their lives. They were both hard-working individuals who had made many personal sacrifices for their families."
He added that after Smith’s "lies" to police and a jury, he now accepted that he "caused the deaths of two innocent people".
He said: "A direct quote from your letter: 'I have no one to blame but myself'."
NHS health visitor and mum-of-two Clare Killey was killed in the crash
(Image: Liverpool Echo)
Liverpool Crown Court heard Smith had a car full of friends as he sped along at around 7pm, on February 28, 2019.
Airport worker Michael Morgan, driving a red Ford Fiesta, was intending to turn right from a side road onto the same street as Smith.
But as he made the manoeuvre, Smith came haring around a "blind bend" towards him and clipped the nearside of his car.
Smith swerved to try and avoid the car, which sent him into the opposite lane, where he hit a kerb, the two cyclists and a Ford C-Max.
Martine Snowdon, prosecuting, told the trial: "Colin Smith gave those other road users not a chance to avoid the horrendous consequences that flowed."
Mr Cope, 39, from Halewood, Knowsley, Merseyside, a skilled builder with his own company, was left unconscious but still breathing after suffering injuries including a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
Anthony Cope, a dad-of-two, was killed by Colin Smith in the crash
(Image: Liverpool Echo)
He was taken to hospital, where he fought for his life but died three weeks later on March 18.
Mrs Killey, 45, from Childwall, Liverpool, an NHS health visitor, was thrown from her bike onto Smith's car and then 41 metres down the road.
She died at the scene after sustaining multiple fractures and devastating injuries to internal organs.
Support workers Adenike Falade and Ms Nicholson were in the C-Max with a patient who they had taken to watch planes.
Ms Nicholson, who suffered a broken collarbone, watched Smith run away, as other people tried to help the cyclists.
She was off work for three months and despite undergoing physiotherapy has been left with 80% function in her shoulder.
Judge Potter said Smith later returned to the scene "when the lies began".
He claimed "it wasn't my fault, he pulled out", said he was travelling at 40mph, then when he tested positive for cannabis, replied: "How have I failed a drug swipe? I haven't had any for days."
A blood sample later revealed Smith had 4.5mg of cannabis per litre of blood – the legal limit is 2mg.
In two police interviews, he continued to blame Mr Morgan, insisted he wasn't speeding and said he didn't know his car was stolen.
He also tried to explain away his cannabis levels by saying he fled in "shock" then smoked a joint after the crash and had a "whitey" [felt dizzy, faint and sick].
At his trial he accepted this was one of several lies he had told "to get out of trouble" and pleaded guilty to drug driving.
Smith confessed he knew the car was stolen and pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and four counts of fraud, relating to attempts to insure it, using the registration plates of a far less powerful Ford Zetec, which are cheaper to insure.
Cycling floral tributes at the funeral of Clare Killey
(Image: Liverpool Echo)
He also finally accepted he "might" have been speeding, but claimed his driving "didn't feel" as fast as 70mph or dangerous.
A Restraint Control Module inside the white Fiesta recorded that he was doing 72mph just 2.5 seconds before the collision with the red Fiesta.
But he claimed it must be wrong and told jurors: "I think I would have realised if I was driving at 70mph."
Smith, who wasn't wearing a seat belt and had a "dummy" seat belt clip fitted, insisted that while he had smoked cannabis the night before, it wouldn't have affected his driving.
He continued to blame Mr Morgan and said if he hadn't have swerved, he and his three passengers probably would have been killed.
The killer driver even suggested that the reason he fled the scene was because he couldn't "handle it" as his dad was killed in a "tragedy" nearby when he was eight years old.
Smith, who has two previous convictions for shoplifting and possession of cannabis, today finally admitted his guilt in a letter to the court.
Ian Whitehurst, defending, said Smith and his family had an insight into the loss suffered by the victims' families because of their own "tragic loss".
He said Smith, who was 21 at the time, now showed remorse and offered his "heartfelt apologies" to them.
Mr Whitehurst said: "The actions of Mr Smith will live with him forever."
He added: "He will always have the shame and the burden of that shame upon him."
Judge Potter said Smith admitted at the trial he was a "chronic abuser of cannabis", smoking it "virtually every day" since he was 16, and referring to his claim that he hadn't smoked cannabis since the night before, said: "I doubt that very much."
He said there was every likelihood he had smoked before the crash and it would have impaired his driving, including slowing his reactions.
The judge said a video recreation of what Mr Morgan would have seen when Smith's car came around the bend at 70mph was "chilling" and described the horrific consequences.
Judge Potter told Smith: "Your first instinct was to get out. Having done that you saw the devastation that you had caused and you left the scene.
"You were only thinking about yourself in those moments and in the words of your own letter to me today, 'I left the scene because I knew I had done something terribly wrong'."
The judge said Smith will serve a three-year driving ban, which will begin when he is released from prison.