A 35-year-old father was tragically killed by a hit and run driver just 45 minutes after being arrested and released by police.
Gareth Roper was arrested by police at his home in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2022 after his wife reported he was ‘acting somewhat strangely’.
Bolton Crown Court heard the 35-year-old’s children were woken during the disturbance and that Mr Roper was taken away to ‘prevent any further difficulties’, reports Manchester Evening News.
Only nine minutes later, the dad-of-six was de-arrested and left outside the Iceland store in Platt Bridge in Wigan. He was left barefoot around three miles from home, without his phone and with no money.
Prosecutor Sara Haque said: ‘He was left barefoot and without any money or his mobile phone. The officers who left him at the scene are still under investigation.’
Gareth was hit by a Volvo 360 car driven by Jamie Evans, who has pleaded guilty to causing his death by dangerous driving.
CCTV footage taken shortly before the fatal collision around 4.15am showed Mr Roper walking along the centre of the road in Lily Lane, Bamfurlong.
His jumper was tied around his waist and he could be heard whistling and clapping, the prosecutor added.
Mr Roper was pronounced dead on the scene after suffering severe head injuries.
The car was estimated to be travelling at 55mph in a 30mph zone. Evans drove off, before handing himself in to police later that day.
The court heard the family had noted Evans had posted photographs on Facebook of himself partying, and had bragged he would soon be going ‘on holiday’ to Forest Bank prison.
Recorder Nicholas Clarke KC was told there was evidence that Evans had been drinking lager and spirits on the night of the collision.
He was released on bail after his arrest in January 2022 but four months later got behind the wheel again and sped away in a van from a pursuing police vehicle, the court was told.
Evans, of no fixed address, was subsequently jailed for 26 weeks after he was convicted of dangerous driving, having no licence and failing to provide a specimen of breath.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to causing the death of Mr Roper by dangerous driving. Recorder Clarke remanded him in custody until September 26 when he will pass sentence.
In a victim personal statement read to the court, Mr Roper’s wife Rachel said: ‘Nobody expects that the police will come to your door and tell you your husband has been killed in a hit-and-run.
‘He was only taken away about 45 minutes earlier and now I was being told he was dead. I miss Gareth so much. I want to tell the driver he has ruined a happy family with a hardworking dad.
‘He [Evans] has taken all that away. He has shown no remorse. He just doesn’t care.’