Case Study

Kyle Coen, 14, killed cycling on the A2 in Sittingbourne

Incident date: 
Mon, 30 Jul 2012

A 14-year-old boy, Kyle Coen, was been killed in a hit and run collision on the A2 in Kent at around 2100.

Police discovered a grey Fiat Bravo later which they believe was involved in the crash.

Kyle had been on the way to visit his girldfriend and was cycling east on the A2 near Bapchild when he was hit.

  • UPDATE (28/02/13)

The driver that killed Kyle has pleaded guilty to failing to stop after the incident and perverting the course of justice by lying to the police. He claimed his car had been stolen on the A2, he said he followed the car and noticed it was damaged.

Robert Lawrence has been given a 6 month prison sentence and a 12 month driving ban.

Lawrence, who has a 19-month-old son, had a conviction in 2008 for drink-driving. He also had a conviction for criminal damage in 2009.

Maidstone Crown Court heard popular Sittingbourne Community College pupil Kyle (pictured right) was cycling on the A2 in London Road towards Teynham with a friend just after 9pm on July 30 last year.

John Keal, prosecuting, said Kyle went to the centre of the road to turn right and was struck by Lawrence’s Fiat Bravo travelling in the same direction by Bapchild cricket ground.

“Kyle died shortly afterwards as a result of the injuries he sustained,” he said. “There has never been any charge in relation to Mr Lawrence’s driving – simply that the collision occurred and death resulted.

“He then drove off without stopping. Fortunately, or more by luck than judgement, emergency services were contacted shortly afterwards, albeit not by Mr Lawrence himself.

“An ambulance crew attended and a member of the public performed CPR, in vain.”

Mr Keal said it was not until 9.40pm that Lawrence, 24, spoke to the police. He then made up an elaborate story about his car being stolen after he stopped to relieve himself in bushes.

He claimed he phoned his primary schoolteacher girlfriend and they found the car. He complained: “They smashed my car up and everything.” He continued the lie when officers arrived on the scene.

He was arrested just before 10.45pm on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and it was then he admitted he was driving at the time.

Judge St John-Stevens said “What must be understood by anybody listening to my remarks is that you are in no way to blame for the accident, which indeed was an accident in the true sense of the word,” he told Lawrence.

The judge added: “I repeat, you do not fall to be sentenced for any act that caused the tragic death of Kyle Coen, but your actions after”.

CTC's view: 

We obviously cannot pass judgment on Mr Lawrence’s driving up to the point of the collision, as no evidence on this was presented in court. We also cannot say whether the police adequately investigated the crash. Nor is it known whether the police decided that Lawrence had been driving correctly, or merely that there was no evidence of an offence, or insufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

Still, it seems deeply wrong that the judge stated so categorically that there was nothing wrong with Mr Lawrence’s driving up to the point of the collision, given that no evidence was presented to show this. The judge’s comments imply that the collision must have occurred either due to some ‘act of God’ or because Kyle Coen himself was in some way at fault. There was no need for him to make such conciliatory comments to a driver who had behaved so appallingly after the crash – particularly given how hurtful this will probably have been to Kyle’s family – and no evidential basis for him to do so either.

Moreover, given that Lawrence also had a previous drink-driving conviction, it seems quite extraordinary that he will be allowed to drive again within just a year.

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