Four men who were in an out-of-control stolen lorry which killed a pedestrian as it ploughed into three cars and a house have been given jail sentences of between 10-and-a-half and 13 years.
The men were sentenced following the death of mother-of-two Jacqueline Wileman, 58, who died instantly when she was hit by the eight-tonne tractor unit in the village of Brierley, near Barnsley, on September 14 last year.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Sheffield Crown Court that Mrs Wileman was a wholly innocent victim who had been taking her usual “power walk” through the village when she was struck by the lorry which was travelling at 55mph.
Judge Richardson said the men had spent the day riding in the lorry, laughing and joking as the HGV was driven dangerously around South Yorkshire for hours.
He said: “Each one of you played a pivotal role in this protracted, persistent, determined and highly dangerous criminal escapade.
“You gave not a thought to the safety of others and exposed many people to the risk of death and serious injury whilst you executed what you thought was a caper but, in truth, was an exceptionally malevolent course of conduct which had an inevitable disastrous and catastrophic conclusion.”
The judge told them: “You killed an innocent pedestrian and nearly killed a cyclist in the dreadful events in the village of Brierley.
“It is nothing short of chance that more people were not killed or maimed by your conduct.”
The driver of the vehicle, Karn Hill, 23, of East View, Cudworth, South Yorkshire, admitted causing death by dangerous driving before the trial and was jailed on Thursday for 10 and a half years.
Three other men denied the same charge but were found guilty by a jury on Wednesday.
David Mellor, 48, of Bank End Road, Worsbrough Dale, South Yorkshire, was jailed for 13 years.
Alan Mawhinney, 53, of Calder Crescent, Kendray, South Yorkshire, was jailed for 12-and-a-half years.
Wayne Carroll, 29, of Chestnut Street, Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire, was also jailed for 12-and-a-half years.
The judge heard that Carroll has a previous conviction for causing death by dangerous driving.
The trial jury heard that the lorry had been stolen days earlier by Mellor from his employers.
On the day of Mrs Wileman’s death, three of the men had taken it on a “joyride” around various locations, stealing fuel from garages as they went. Carroll joined them later.
Judge Richardson said: “During the morning, all three of you were involved in stealing fuel and encouraging Hill to drive exceptionally badly.
“I accept all of the evidence that has been adduced in the trial that you were all laughing and joking.
“Each one of you was enjoying what you thought was a joyride in a very large HGV tractor unit.
“I make it clear, there was nothing joyful about your criminal conduct.”
The court heard that, as the lorry approached the village, it was spotted by a police officer who began to follow it.
But the judge said the officer was not chasing the vehicle and attached no blame to the police.
Three of the four defendants tried to flee the scene but were detained, some with the help of angry locals who were praised by Judge Richardson.
The newly-built house in which the lorry became embedded has had to be demolished.
The jury was shown graphic CCTV footage of what prosecutors described as the “utter carnage” in the village.
The court heard that Carroll had been jailed for 27 months in 2015 for causing the death of a 25-year-old pedestrian who was crossing a road in the village of Havercroft, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Mellor also had a conviction for dangerous driving and assaulting a police officer relating to a five-mile police chase in 2010.
Judge Richardson referred to another case he dealt with earlier this year involving a crash in the Darnall area of Sheffield in which four people were killed.
He said that, as with that case, his sentencing power was restricted by the current 14-year maximum for death by dangerous driving.
He noted that this maximum was currently under review by the Transport Secretary but added that it was a matter for Parliament not the judiciary.
Outside court, Mrs Wileman’s brother, Johnny Wood, accepted that the judge’s “hands were tied” and said he agreed with moves to change the maximum sentence to life imprisonment.
“It can’t come soon enough,” he said.
“They’re terrorists, they’re terrorising the community. And it’s time the Government were listening to the public and listening to police officers.”
He said: “We need these people off the streets. They’re not fit for society. They’re not fit to breathe the same air as you or me.”
Mr Wood also criticised Government police cuts, saying South Yorkshire Police had been looking for the truck for two days before the crash but were limited by officer numbers.