Milkman who killed a woman in a crash as he lit a CIGARETTE before telling police he thought he had run over a bin bag is jailed for a year

  • Tomas Marcinkus, 29, was driving down a road in Birmingham just after 3.30am
  • Claire McKenzie had been drinking at a friend's house and was lying in the road
  • Marcinkus should have seen her, court heard, but had been lighting a cigarette 
  • Marcinkus ran her over and killed her and has now been jailed for 12 months 

Tomas Marcinkus was lighting a cigarette before he ran over a woman lying in the middle of the road. He has been jailed for causing death by careless driving

Tomas Marcinkus was lighting a cigarette before he ran over a woman lying in the middle of the road. He has been jailed for causing death by careless driving

A milk delivery driver who was lighting a cigarette before he drove over and killed a drunken women lying in the middle of the road has been jailed. 

Tomas Marcinkus left victim Claire McKenzie 'catastrophically' injured but carried on driving, later telling police he thought he had gone over a bin bag.

The 29-year-old, of Low Hill, Wolverhampton, was driving his Mercedes Sprinter van down Sutton New Road in Erdington, Birmingham, in November 2016, a court heard.

Ms McKenzie, 35, had been drinking at a friend's party and ended up in the road as she walked home but the court was told the driver would have had a clear view of her.

Marcinkus told police he had been lighting a cigarette and was jailed for 12 months and banned from the roads for two years after admitting causing the death by careless driving.

Passing sentence at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Mark Wall QC told him: 'Claire McKenzie was a highly-popular woman who had a partner and a family who were obviously devoted to her.

'Your carelessness was in trying to find and light a cigarette while you were driving your van.

Claire McKenzie had been drinking at a friend's party when she walked home. She ended up lying in the middle of the road and was run over

Claire McKenzie had been drinking at a friend's party when she walked home. She ended up lying in the middle of the road and was run over

Ms McKenzie, pictured here with her friend Kim Holden, suffered catastrophic injuries in the incident and later died

Ms McKenzie, pictured here with her friend Kim Holden, suffered catastrophic injuries in the incident and later died

'It was a large and heavy vehicle. You did not pay sufficient attention to the road ahead of you.

'Had you been concentrating, as you ought to have been, you would have seen her and avoided her, as others did.

'Had you troubled to look properly behind you after the collision, it would have been obvious to you what you had done.'

Marcinkus had previous convictions for speeding, the court heard.

Samantha Crabb, prosecuting, said that on November 10 Ms McKenzie had gone to a friend's birthday party, returning to her home just before 1am.

However, she then left to go to a BP petrol station to buy some food. Then she set off back to her home again, walking along Sutton New Road.

'By that stage she was walking in an unsteady manner and was intoxicated,' Ms Crabb said.

Just after 3.30am Marcinkus was driving a Mercedes sprinter van along the same road.

Ms McKenzie was left fatally injured in the road after the driver thought he had driven over a bin bag
Marcinkus was tracked down later that day and arrested

Ms McKenzie was left fatally injured in the road after the driver thought he had driven over a bin bag. Marcinkus was tracked down later that day and arrested

At this stage Ms McKenzie was lying in the road, which was a dual carriageway, although the defendant would have had a clear view of her.

'He drove straight over her as she lay in the road,' Ms Crabb said. 'She was caused catastrophic injuries to her head and upper torso.'

Ms Crabb said police traced the van and arrested Marcinkus later that day.

When quizzed, he said he had been aware of driving over something, hearing a noise and the van 'lifting.'

He told police he believed he had run over a bin bag. He also described how, shortly before the incident, he got a cigarette by putting the packet up to his mouth and then lighting it.

Floral tributes were left at the scene of Ms McKenzie's death in Erdington, Birmingham

Floral tributes were left at the scene of Ms McKenzie's death in Erdington, Birmingham

In a statement, the victim's mother Margaret McKenzie said her daughter was a 'beautiful girl both in and out'.

She said she had played the part of Santa at a nursery and had 'touched so many hearts of the people she met.'

She continued: 'We are utterly devastated beyond any words could say.'

Christopher O'Gorman, defending, said Marcinkus, from Lithuania, came to the UK two years ago and had an unblemished work record.

He said: 'He had no idea what it was he had collided with.

'Had he known, he would have taken the same steps that others do.' 

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