What the court of appeal judge said to defendant

Qyarry Hill Industrial Park, Merlin Way, Ilkeston.
Qyarry Hill Industrial Park, Merlin Way, Ilkeston.

A ‘selfish and callous’ Ilkeston man who hid a stolen motorbike in bushes in a bid to ‘save his own skin’ following a fatal crash has had his jail term cut on appeal.

Gavin Brookes admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice over his actions following the death of Dean Crooks.

Mr Crooks died from his injuries after borrowing the bike and crashing it into a tree near the Quarry Hill Industrial Estate.

Brookes, 31, of Windermere Avenue also admitted handling the stolen bike and was jailed for two years and three months at Derby Crown Court in July.

But his jail term has now been cut to one year and nine months by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original term was ‘too long’.

Mrs Justice Cox told the court Brookes and a friend were riding along the Nutbrook Trail in the early hours of October 5 last year when they met Mr Crooks and another man who had been drinking and taking drugs.

Brookes’ friend knew the pair and, Brookes, who was riding a Yamaha motorbike he knew had been stolen, let Mr Crooks ride it after he asked if he could have a go.

The judge said Mr Crooks, 28, rode the bike around but then, tragically, struck a tree and suffered serious injuries and later died in hospital.

His friend rushed to his aid but Brookes removed the motorbike from the scene of the crash and hid it in nearby undergrowth before fleeing.

When police arrived at the scene, they believed the other two men had been involved and arrested them. But officers found the motorbike within a few hours and Brookes was arrested later that day.

He initially denied any involvement, but later admitted what he had done.

The crown court judge who jailed him said his actions were an effort to ‘save his own skin’.

They had contributed to the anguish suffered by Mr Crooks’ family as they initially didn’t know what had happened to him.

Brookes’ lawyers argued his sentence was over the top in light of the relatively short time before his attempted cover-up was discovered and his ‘genuine remorse’.

Allowing the appeal, Mrs Justice Cox said Brookes’ actions were ‘selfish and callous’, but that the sentence was ‘excessive’.