Following a four-day trial that ended on April 27 at Chester Crown Court, Martin Cunliffe was found guilty of the charge.
The Barnton resident, 37, has been granted bail before sentencing on Friday, June 9, 2023.
The court was informed during the trial that on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at about 11 a.m., police were contacted in response to reports of an accident on School Lane in Warmingham.
Officers responded to the site and discovered that Cunliffe’s red Fiat 500 and a white Ford Connect van had been involved in an accident.
The van’s 50-year-old Middlewich resident, Gerry Smith, suffered devastating injuries and was pronounced dead at the site.
Cunliffe was also injured severely and rushed to the hospital.
Officers from the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit of Cheshire Constabulary opened an investigation.
Cunliffe was traveling much above the 30 mph limit, according to multiple witnesses who were interviewed by police throughout their investigations. One of the witnesses even said that Cunliffe had overtaken them quickly.
The data from the Fiat and CCTV footage from nearby homes that proved Cunliffe had driven along School Lane at speeds of up to 54 mph were also found by the police.The data also indicate that at the moment of impact, he was moving at a speed of at least 39 mph.
Cunliffe’s blood study also showed that he was using MDMA (Ecstasy) at the time of the incident, with a level of 392 micrograms of MDMA per litre of blood—39 times the legal limit for driving under the influence of drugs.
Cunliffe was charged in connection with the crash after compiling all the evidence.
Following the decision, PC Liz Thompson of the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit of the Cheshire Police said:
“This case demonstrates the repercussions of driving under the influence of illegal drugs and driving in excess of the speed limit and without care and attention.
“On the morning of the collision Cunliffe took the decision to get behind the wheel, despite the fact that he knew he was under the influence of MDMA.
“As a result of that decision, a man has lost his life and Cunliffe is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“My thoughts at this time remain with Mr Smith’s family and while nothing will ever bring him back, I hope that the conclusion of the case and the guilty verdict will provide them with some closure and allow them to move forward with their lives.”
Although nothing will ever be able to bring Mr. Smith back, I hope that the resolution of the case and the guilty verdict will give his family some closure and enable them to move on with their lives.
Family of Mr. Smith added;
“We are absolutely devastated by the sudden avoidable loss of our beloved Gerry and put our lives have fallen apart since his death.
“Gerry was a much loved family man, he leaves behind his loving wife, seven children and 24 grandchildren, four of whom will never have the opportunity to meet their loving grandad.
“He was the life and soul of the party, a man with a big heart and will always be missed by all his family and friends.”
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