Breaking Poling Sussex

Tributes have been paid to a “fun-loving, doting dad” who was tragically killed by an uninsured and unlicensed driver

Tributes have been paid to a “fun-loving, doting dad” who was tragically killed by an uninsured and unlicensed driver.

Michael James Craig, known as Mick, had been riding his moped eastbound on the A27 at Poling when he was struck by a blue Volkswagen Caddy. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The 34-year-old had been travelling from Pizza Express in Arundel, where he worked as a chef, to his home in Salvington – a journey he did regularly – when the collision occurred on the evening of 24 October 2018.

The driver of the VW was identified as Damien Moth, 32, of Roundstone Drive, East Preston.

Enquiries revealed he was not insured or licensed to drive the vehicle. He was subsequently arrested and charged with causing death by careless driving, driving while uninsured and driving while unlicensed.

He initially denied all three offences and was released on bail, and the case was listed for trial at Lewes Crown Court on 3 March 2021, but Moth failed to appear. A wanted person appeal was put out for him, and he was eventually located in Crawley on 18 March, and arrested and remanded in custody.

The following day (19 March), he was put before Lewes Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to all three offences.

He was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for three years, and must take an extended retest should he wish to drive again.

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In passing sentencing, Judge Christine Laing QC said the actions of Moth – driving in the dark at high speed – was dangerous, and as a result of that, he collided with Michael’s moped which tragically led to his death.

Michael’s family issued the following tribute: 

“Michael James Craig, born 07/05/1984, was born and raised in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Michael went to Thornhill Secondary School. Straight after school he worked with his uncle for a few years installing electric cables, they worked all over – including on the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle – and Michael loved it.

“Michael was a devoted family man to his two girls Tegan, six, and Kaylan, five. Michael, Stacey and the girls moved to Worthing in 2017 for a better life for the girls. They both walked into jobs – Michael worked at Pizza Express in Arundel and everyone loved him; both customers and staff. He was always playing pranks on people.

“Michael was an avid Xbox player and made so many friends playing the games. He was such a funny loving guy and he would do anything for anyone. Michael had only been here 18 months; they were due to move into a beautiful house on 27/10/18.

“Michael will always be remembered for his funny, loving, nature. He is greatly missed by all his family and friends.”

Investigating officer, PC Doug Park, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit, said: “It has been a long and anxious wait for Michael’s family, and I hope they are able to find some comfort in the conclusion of this case. While there is nothing that can change what happened on that tragic night, I hope this serves as a stark warning to all motorists about the risks of driving not in accordance with the law.

“Careless driving costs lives. It is one of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads, and we will continue to provide education and enforcement with two main aims: to save lives and to deal robustly with those who compromise road safety.

“The fact that Moth went into hiding to avoid sentencing speaks volumes, and that he didn’t face up to his responsibilities knowing that he had taken the life of a young family man.”