Chinley motorist who hit pedestrian and abandoned his body at the roadside loses sentence appeal

The stretch of  the A6 at New Mills Newtown, Derbys, where Keith Ambrey was killed by motorist Joseph Wild. Photo: Eugene Henderson.
The stretch of the A6 at New Mills Newtown, Derbys, where Keith Ambrey was killed by motorist Joseph Wild. Photo: Eugene Henderson.

A motorist who hit and killed a disabled pedestrian before dumping his body by the roadside has lost an appeal against the severity of his prison sentence.

Joseph Edwin Wild, 74, hit Keith Ambrey in his 4x4 after he strayed onto the A6 at Newtown while coming home from a night out.

Mr Ambrey, 61 of Hazel Grove, suffered from chronic motor neurone disease and was seen to “stumble or fall into the carriageway”.

He had been out for a meal with friends in Manchester but got off at the wrong station and ended up in the Peak District. He had only consumed a modest amount of alcohol.

Wild’s car rolled over him as he lay in the road, and evidence suggested he may have thought his body was a bin bag.

After striking and killing Mr Ambrey, the farmer “behaved in an extraordinary way”, Mr Justice Holroyde told London’s Appeal Court.

Finding Mr Ambrey dead, he hauled his corpse to the side of the road and “made no attempt to seek assistance”.

When another motorist stopped to offer help, Wild lied that he had just come across the body, and soon afterwards went home to bed.

The judge said the loss of Mr Ambrey - a “kind and decent” former NHS boss - had taken a devastating toll on his family. His loves ones’ distress was worsened by “the manner in which he was treated at the scene”.

Wild, of White Knowle, Chinley, was jailed for 17 months at Derby Crown Court in March after he admitted causing death by careless driving.

But his case reached the Appeal Court this week as his lawyers challenged his sentence, claiming it was far too tough.

Mr Justice Holroyde, sitting with Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Blair, said Wild’s crime was “gravely aggravated” by his actions after the accident.

His crime was made worse by the “shameful disrespect with which he treated the deceased after death and also by the harm he caused to the bereaved”, he said.

Mr Ambrey’s relatives had to live with the knowledge of how he died, said the judge, “and with the knowledge that his body was then abandoned at the roadside”.

The judge who jailed him was entitled to find that Wild was “motivated by self-interest”.

“We are not persuaded that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive,” concluded Mr Justice Holroyde, dismissing Wild’s appeal.