Audi driver mowed down cyclist after cocaine-fuelled party with sex workers

A cyclist died after a "tired" Audi driver mowed him down following a night out partying with sex workers and cocaine, a court heard.

Craig Howick, 38, killed "intelligent, kind and gentle" Alex Roberts, 47, in the crash in Monmouthshire, Wales.

Following the collision, Mr Roberts was left bleeding, "abandoned like an animal" while Howick drove off, Cardiff Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

The cyclist's distraught partner told the court he woke from his hospital bed and asked her to marry him, only to die weeks later.

Howick smashed his Audi A4 into the victim's bicycle from behind on a straight stretch of road between Rogiet and Undy.

The cyclist was thrown into a grass verge and sustained multiple internal abdominal injuries and a hypoxic brain injury, on August 5, 2019.

He died six weeks later after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Howick, of Rogiet, Caldicot, was found after his vehicle was involved in another crash two days later (August 7).

When arrested he claimed damage to the nearside of the Audi was caused colliding with a hedge earlier in the month in an attempt to avoid a badger in the road.

The defendant staged this collision in a bid to explain the damage caused to the vehicle after hitting Mr Roberts, it was found.

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On Tuesday, prosecutor Jeffrey Jones said Mr Roberts was returning from work in Bristol and was travelling to Undy from Rogiet train station.

But just four minutes into his journey on the B4245 – a single carriageway with two lanes – he was struck from behind by an Audi A4 which failed to stop.

Police rushed to the scene at 7.07pm after a member of the public discovered the cyclist in a grass verge.

He was described as being in pain and bleeding heavily from an injury to his side.

His partner, Rachel Cooney, said in a victim statement: "I will never forget the day Alex didn't come home.

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"As soon as 7pm came and he didn't turn up I knew something must have happened.

"This had become a terrible fear of mine and when I heard sirens go by the house just knew.

"The days that followed was unbearable not knowing what would happen to Alex, I couldn't sleep or eat.

"I hoped to be able to to see him or speak to him but instead I was told he would be taken to theatre as he had lost so much blood."

She added: "Eventually Alex came round and the first thing he said to me was we should get married. I was happy and optimistic but he took a turn for the worst and a few days later anguish filled my nights.

"I wasn't given any hope and my life as I knew it was gone. When Alex died, I lost him forever, the man I was going to marry and the man who gave me hope again was now gone.

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"I had to try and pick up the pieces of a shattered life since this happened. It's destroyed my sense of hope in anything and my own family have been bereft by the loss of a cherished addition to our family.

"I find it hard to take how someone could have done this to Alex and shown contempt for his life by leaving him by the side of the road. It's shocking and repulsive to me.

"I now have to find some way to live on without the man I loved. I'm so lost without my Alex."

Despite the efforts of medical staff, Mr Roberts died on September 25, 2019.

Howick was arrested on August 9, 2019, and during his police interview he claimed he had been sleeping in the afternoon until the early evening because he had been "partying with two sex workers" and had taken cocaine.

He claimed he had been involved in a crash later that evening and his car had driven into a hedge while trying to avoid a badger.

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Forensic collision investigator, Christopher Goddard, said if the Audi had been travelling at the 40mph speed limit, Howick would have seen Mr Roberts for five seconds before the impact.

The victim's sister, Kirsten Roberts', statement was read in court, it said: "My brother was kind, intelligent and considerate. He suffered after the sudden death of our mother when he was 12-years-old but he was a survivor and had an optimistic look on life.

"I find it unfathomable that having suffered in life he suffered in death.

"It pains me that he was abandoned like an animal and left to suffer alone by the side of the road."

In a third interview, Howick admitted purposely damaging his car by driving through a hedge after seeing police investigate the collision in the road.

When asked why he had struck Mr Roberts, the defendant claimed he was distracted by using the radio and had a momentary lapse of concentration.

A toxicology examination on August 9 found traces of cocaine in his system.

He later pleaded guilty to causing death by driving carelessly and without attention after initially pleading not guilty to perverting the cause of justice, before he changed his plea to guilty.

Sentencing, Judge Niclas Parry described the actions of Howick as "unforgivable" and "contemptible".

Howick was sentenced to 42 months' imprisonment and was disqualified from driving for two years and 21 months.

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