Parents’ powerful message to ‘Champagne Charlie’ banker who killed their son
The parents of a Royal Navy recruit killed by a banker dubbed 'Champagne Charlie' have said they will "never forgive" him after he avoided jail today.
Wayne Davies, 31, was driving home at 4am in his Audi A5 Quattro with a woman he had met in Manchester city centre when he struck James 'Hodge' Edwards, 22, who was lying in the middle of the road after a night out.
Davies, who was handed a suspended sentence, claimed in court he thought he had hit a bin bag.
James's parents, Glyn and Jane Edwards, confronted their son's killer in court, telling him: "We will never forgive you."
Jane described organising the funeral for her son as "the most horrendous this that can happen to any mother".
Later, the parents admitted they were "gutted" Davies hadn't been jailed, reports the Manchester Evening News .
James suffered fatal injuries when he was hit and then dragged for 105 metres under the Audi. His horrified girlfriend witnessed the tragic incident.
Davies drove away and later told police he thought he had hit a bin bag.
Officers tracked him down by following a trail of coolant from the damaged radiator to his front door.
Police found a wrap of cocaine hidden in his phone.
For two years, Davies denied his driving was careless.
But on the eve of a re-trial Davies, of Lyndhurst Avenue, Stockport, admitted causing death by careless driving and possessing class A drugs.
The tragedy in March 2017 devastated the Edwards family.
Judge John Potter told Davies: "Had your driving that night not fallen below the standards of a reasonable and competent driver the death of James Edwards may have been avoided."
He had seen 'the obstruction' in the road and decided to drive over it at a speed of between 20mph and 25mph, dragging Mr Edward's body 105 metres down the road before driving away, the judge said.
Davies 'disgracefully' made no attempt to investigate the obstruction, although there was evidence he had stopped later to examine damage to his Audi, said Judge Potter.
James was 6ft tall and weighed 13st 9lbs.
Mr Edwards, known as 'Hodge', had been out celebrating his imminent posting to the Navy the night he was killed.
He had been drinking and was lying down on a railway bridge on Bramhall Moor Lane in Hazel Grove, Stockport, when he was hit.
He had been involved in an argument with his girlfriend, who went home but then returned to look for him in her Mini. She saw the moment he was hit by Davies.
Davies showed no emotion in the dock as he was handed a 10-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He was made the subject of an electronically-monitored curfew for four months and banned from driving four four years.
Earlier, his victim's mother Jane Edwards, 50, a former practice nurse, stood in the witness box and looked over at the defendant as she delivered a withering attack.
"It's every mother's worse nightmare to lose a child and this nightmare has happened to me.
"A part of me has died and I can never get this back," she told the hearing, describing her son as as 'kind considerate and loving son loved by all with a beautiful smile'.
His smile was 'something [I] will never see again because of the selfish actions of one person', Mrs Edwards said.
She described how the death had affected her marriage and said she still suffered 'harrowing thoughts' of her son being dragged under Davies' car.
Mrs Edwards said she was was 'incensed' with the who, had 'shown no remorse for what he's done and has a total disregard for human life' – and was more interested in 'protecting himself'.
Davies had even 'tried to antagonise' by drinking in a pub in Poynton where the wake had been held, showing 'disregard and disrespect', said Mrs Edwards.
The defendant had even 'stared [her] out' at a supermarket when they bumped into each other, the court heard.
Despite being charged over the death, Davies had 'continued to parade his social life' through his girlfriend's social media account with photos from various locations looking like he doesn't have a care in the world', she said.
Looking at the defendant, she said her son may have lived if the defendant had stopped and went on: "I will never forgive you Wayne Davies for what you have done to me and my family."
James' father Glyn, 52, a retired police officer, also slammed the 'selfish, arrogant, criminal actions' of Davies, adding that the though of the defendant driving home for a 'one night stand' still 'repulses' him.
Looking at the dock, he added: "I will never forgive you Wayne Davies, never."
The defendant had been out in bars in Manchester including Panacea, The Alchemist and Neighbourhood on the night of the crash
During the night he was said to have met a woman, prosecutor Rob Hall told the court.
Crash investigators followed the coolant which leaked from the Audi's damaged radiator.
The trail led them to the defendant's home, but not before it went on a 'loop' of a nearby housing estate, the court heard.
The emergency services were on the scene 'within minutes' but Mr Edwards died in hospital due to 'multiple injuries'.
After his arrest, Mr Davies denied any knowledge of the crash, but later he said he thought he had hit a bin bag or a twig.
Ben Smitten, defending, said his client was driving at 22mph on the correct side of the road.
"Mr Davies accepts by his plea his part in this tragic episode," said Mr Smitten, who added his client had been 'remorseful' to probation officers and apologised 'for his part in the episode through me'.
After hearing, Mr and Mrs Edwards told the Manchester Evening News they were 'gutted' Davies had not been jailed, but said it was not a lenient sentence.
"He deserved a prison sentence, but I can understand the judge," said Mr Edwards.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Jane Edwards said: "No parent should ever had to write a victim impact statement for their child.
"No mother should have to organise the funeral of their child or bury their child.
"It's the most horrendous thing that can happen to any mother."
She said she had spoken to her son for the last time the previous evening and that the next time she saw him he was in the resuscitation department of Stepping Hill Hospital.
On the way to hospital, she and her husband came across the scene of the accident by chance, not realising it was the location their son had been hit.
They were escorted on a blue light run for the rest of the journey to the hospital, the court heard.
"I knew then that something was badly wrong," Mrs Edwards said.
"All I wanted to do was to see my son and to know what had happened and know what his injuries were, and to see him and talk to him."
It was only at the hospital the parents learned their son had suffered significant injuries.
When Mrs Edwards saw her son, his eyes were 'glazed' and his sheets were blood-stained.
"It's something no-one should have to see never mind a mother looking at her son.
"All a mother wants to do is to hold their child," she said.
Mrs Edwards said this was the moment her heart 'physically shattered'.
The court heard that the parents were not allowed to touch James, as he was effectively a crime scene, except to hold his hand.
Now, when she closes her eyes, she says she can see her son's eyes as they were that night, while knowing the pain he must have felt 'makes me cry'.
"My son's death has totally shattered my life and that of my family," she said.
She sometimes sprayed his favourite aftershave on her so she could recall his scent, the court heard.
Her son had just been accepted into the Royal Navy and 'I was so proud of him'.
"All I have left of my son is my memories of him and a gravestone to look at," she wrote.She said the driver has been 'selfish and arrogant'.
"I will never forgive him or forgive his actions," she said.
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