A speeding driver killed one friend and left another seriously hurt after losing control of his car and ploughing into a tree.
Daryl Bright’s devastated family watched on in court, as mechanic Michael Pullan was jailed for causing his death.
Mr Bright, 26, was thrown from the car and died following the crash in Partington, Trafford.
The other man in the vehicle, Mr Bright’s ‘best friend’ Lewis Bell, tried to save his pal even after being seriously injured himself.
“I felt so helpless and just held his head in my hands to try and stop the bleeding,” he later said.
“He’s my best friend and there was nothing I could do to help him.”
Pullan, who was also injured, has now been jailed for three years and nine months.
Manchester’s courts are some of the busiest in the country with a vast array of cases heard every week.
To keep up to date with how justice is being served across Greater Manchester subscribe to our free weekly M.E.N. Court News newsletter put together by our court reporters Andrew Bardsley and Amy Walker.
How do I sign up?
- First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
- Once you’re there, put your email address where it says at the top, then tick the MEN Court News box. There are other newsletters available if you want them as well.
- When you’ve made your choice, hit Save Changes button at the bottom.
He had been giving the pair a lift after they’d been to the pub together.
In an emotional speech in court, Mr Bright’s partner told how their three-year-old son says his dad is a superhero, because he can see them from heaven.
She also urged drivers to slow down.
“I want no-one else to feel this pain, I want justice and I want people to realise speeding kills people,” Katie Tomkinson said, paying tribute to her ‘best friend’ and ‘soulmate’.
The trio had been in two pubs together prior to the crash.
Pullan said he had drank two pints of lager shandy, and his driving wasn’t affected by it.
He offered to give Mr Bright and Mr Bell a lift, and was driving on Warburton Lane in Partington, at about 11pm on December 11, 2019.
Pullan later said he believed the speed limit was 60mph as it was a ‘rural’ location, leaving a more built up area.
In fact the limit was 40mph, and as he approached a bend he lost control and left the road, hitting a lamp post, a fence and then a tree.
Mr Bright, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, suffered serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, prosecutor David Lees told Minshull Street Crown Court.
Mr Bell, who was wearing a belt, broke his back and suffered scarring to his lung, spending five days in hospital.
Pullan was in hospital for six days after sustaining broken ribs and fractures to his shoulder, collarbone and pelvis.
“This is a truly tragic case for all involved, which began as three friends out for a pleasant evening together, and ended with the loss of one very precious life and lifelong damage to many others,” Judge Bernadette Baxter said.
“No sentence that I can pass will restore that loss, or repair that damage.”
She told Pullan: “As you know only too well, speed kills and ruins lives.”
Experts were unable to say how fast Pullan was driving, but prosecutors said it was at least 60mph.
They also said ice may have played a part in the loss of control.
After being released from hospital, Pullan was interviewed and said he had little recollection of what happened before the crash.
Pullan, who had a clean driving licence, later pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Mr Bright’s family claimed Pullan had shown ‘no remorse’, but his barrister said he is ‘desperately sorry’ and ‘utterly devastated’.
“He knows that nothing he could say or do could ever make amends for what he did,” defence barrister Tom Gent said.
Mr Bright’s partner Katie Tomkinson told how she had dropped him off at the pub that night.
“I never knew that was the last time I’d ever see him alive again, and it breaks my heart I didn’t hug him longer or kiss him one more time,” she said.
Ms Tomkinson, who planned to marry Mr Bright and have another child together, described her agony at having to tell their son Alfie that his dad isn’t coming home.
“They were inseparable, and so very alike,” she said.
“He says his daddy is a super hero because he can see him from heaven.”
She added: “My focus is to stop irresponsible drivers, people who drive dangerously and showing people the consequences of speeding and dangerous driving.”
“Forgiveness isn’t something that will ever come, but justice can,” Mr Bright’s father Darryl Stevenson said in a statement read to the court.
“No matter how long Mr Pullan serves, it won’t be as long as our life sentence without our boy.”
Pullan, of Wadebridge Avenue, Baguley, will serve half of his sentence in prison.