Breaking Hertfordshire Watford

A driver who was “off his head on cocaine” when he killed a highways maintenance worker mocked the man’s family after being jailed

Duval Daly, 57, stuck his tongue out at Michael Bennett’s family and said: “I will be out in three years”.

Mr Bennett died after being hit on Lieutenant Ellis Way in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire on 2 November 2020.

He was jailed for six years and nine months for offences including causing death by careless driving.

Daly, of Grove House, College Road, Waltham Cross, pleaded guilty to five offences: causing death by careless driving when over the limit for cocaine, cannabis and diazepam; and causing death while having no insurance and no licence.

Mr Bennett, 54, had stopped to cut an overhanging branch at 13:00 GMT and was thrown 20m (65ft) down the road after being hit by a black BMW driven by Daly.

Three members of the public chased down and held Daly until police arrived.

St Albans Crown Court heard Daly, who had 55 convictions for 143 offences, was thought to have been up to 20 times the legal limit for cocaine at the time.

Calculations also showed Daly had been speeding before hitting Mr Bennett at between 33 and 47mph.

Mr Bennett died in hospital early the next day from multiple injuries.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: “It was a tragic irony that his aim was to make the road safer for his fellow motorists.”

In a victim personal statement, Mr Bennett’s daughter Charlie said: “In my eyes the defendant shows no remorse.

“He hit my dad and left him on the road. Luckily members of the public chased him and held him until the police arrived.”

Jailing Daly, Judge Michael Kay QC said: “It is obvious Mr Bennett was much-loved by his family and others. His death leaves an enormous hole in a number of people’s lives.”

He said Daly had caused the senseless loss of the life of a wholly innocent person who was simply going about his job.

The judge went on: “The concoction of drugs would undoubtedly have impaired your actions. In colloquial terms, you must have been off your head on cocaine.”

After Daly was led away, the judge offered Mr Bennett’s family his sincere condolences and said he was sorry they saw him stick his tongue out.

“It puts into context his expression of remorse,” he said.

The judge commended the three men who helped and said each should receive a £350 award.

Daly was also banned from driving for nine years.