'You acted like a coward': Callous driver fled wreckage of uninsured car as trapped passenger lay dying after crash

An unlicensed driver who ran from the wreckage of a car and left his passenger trapped inside with fatal injuries after a crash has been jailed for more than six years.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 4:35 pm
Paul Morgan has been jailed.

Paul Morgan was branded a "coward" by a judge after a court heard how 23-year-old Josh Moir-Barik died during the incident in East Ardsley.

Morgan has never held a licence and was driving a car on false number plates with a severely deflated tyre when he took the decision to drive off from police.

Leeds Crown Court heard Morgan lied to officers after the tragedy and tried to blame Josh for causing the crash.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Josh Moir-Barik died in the crash.

After the incident in July 2019, the serial motoring offender went on to commit further offences of driving without a licence or insurance.

The 31-year-old was jailed for six years and eight months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing death by driving while disqualified and causing death by driving while uninsured.

Judge Neil Clark told Morgan: "You acted like a coward. You did not even wait when your friend was trapped in the car and badly injured. You ran away."

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said the incident happened on July 7, 2019.

Read more: Leeds drink driver punched police officer after crash during dangerous chase on icy roads

Morgan, who has never held a driving licence, was driving a VW Polo which was fitted with false plates.

Josh, from Rothwell, was a front seat passenger in the car which contained two other male passengers.

Mr Smith said the vehicle was captured on CCTV footage as Morgan filled the vehicle with petrol at 11.15pm at a BP garage on Bradford Road, East Ardsley.

The vehicle left the garage and was seen moments later by officers in a police van as they left the forecourt of a Tesco petrol station a short distance away.

The officers became suspicious at the way the Polo was being driven as Morgan drove behind a BMW and kept pulling out as if to overtake.

Checks revealed the vehicle was insured to a female and officers decided to follow the car.

The officers put on blue lights indicating for Morgan to pull over but the defendant turned right and sped off along Common Lane.

The police van carried on in the same direction but at a safe distance.

Mr Smith said Morgan drove at excessive speeds along Common Lane, reaching around 70mph, despite his passengers telling him to slow down.

Morgan lost control of the car at a sharp bend.

Read more: Leeds granddad killed in the doorway of his own home in Armley after being punched by violent offender

The vehicle struck the kerb and hit a lamp post before landing on its roof.

The collision was captured on CCTV footage from a nearby business and was played to the court.

The prosecutor said Morgan climbed from the wreckage of the vehicle and fled, leaving Josh and another passenger trapped inside.

Josh suffered head and chest injuries and died the next day.

Another passenger suffered serious lung injuries but has since recovered.

Morgan was arrested at his home in Leeds a day later

Mr Smith said the defendant tried to minimise his involvement in the incident.

He lied to officers that the crash happened when Josh pulled the handbrake.

The court heard there was no evidence that anyone had pulled the handbrake.

Morgan, of Broom Terrace, Belle Isle, has previous convictions for driving while uninsured and driving without a licence.

Mr Smith said Morgan is also due to be summoned to appear in court for further offences of driving without a licence and insurance which took place in 2020.

Josh's parents provided victim statements to the court describing their devastation at the loss of their son.

Josh's Mum, Jo Barik, described how she was with her son when he died in hospital.

Mr Smith said: "It is a moment that she will never be able to forget."

Josh's dad, Gary Moir said: "I am sad that I do not have a future with my son. There is no one to traditionally carry on my name."

Richard Reed, mitigating for Morgan, said: "He is profoundly sorry for the death of Josh and the distressing affect this has had on his family.

"He accepts that they will never get over that."

The barrister added: "He doesn't shirk from his responsibility and places no blame on Josh.

"He accepts that he was stupid in his attempt to get away from the police."

Sentencing Morgan, Judge Clark said: "Josh Moir-Barik was someone you knew.

"He was only 23 years old. He was clearly loved by his family. I was moved by their statements today.

"You have left that family with a loss that will be with them forever.

"You took a totally irresponsible risk with your life and the lives of the others in that car..

"Josh was the passenger in this vehicle being driven by you on false plates when you had never held a licence.

"You chose to drive that car with a grossly underinflated tyre which you knew about.

"This is a bad case of its type.

"It involved a flagrant disregard for the rules of the road."

Morgan was also banned from driving for eight years and four months.