112mph death crash driver is jailed for nine years
DRINK-DRIVER James Appleby was doing 112mph on a 30mph main road moments before he killed two men in a head-on crash with a taxi.
Appleby was driving his late father's Jaguar XK8 on Victoria Road, Fenton, without wearing a seatbelt when he overtook a bus and ploughed into the Hanley-bound cab.
The crash killed Lucky Seven taxi driver, Tahlat Mahmood, and back-seat passenger Lee Till.
Mr Till's 31-year-old best friend David Booth, who was sat in the front seat of the Skoda Octavia taxi, has been left with life-changing injuries after surviving the crash.
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Appleby managed to climb out of the Jaguar's window and walked to a nearby friend's house despite having a broken ankle, broken wrist and fractured rib.
Now the 25-year-old, of Trentham Road, Longton, has been jailed for nine years after admitting two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of causing death while uninsured. Appleby also admitted drink driving and failing to stop at a crash scene.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Mr Till and Mr Booth had called for a taxi to take them from The Vine Inn, at Sandford Hill, to Hanley at 12.55am on Saturday, May 28.
Five minutes earlier Appleby was captured on CCTV leaving a gentleman's club after spending two hours at the Hanley venue.
After leaving Hanley, Appleby was clocked at driving up to 91 mph near Joiners Square roundabout and later hit 112mph in Victoria Road.
Robert Price, prosecuting, said: "The bus driver said the car came from behind his vehicle at an unbelievable speed and hit the taxi head-on, on the wrong side of the road.
"He was trying to find an impossible gap to overtake and the taxi driver didn't have one second to react."
Taxi driver Mr Mahmood, aged 30, of Lightwood Road, Normacot, was pronounced dead at the scene. Married Mr Till, aged 29, of Wigmore Place, Sandford Hill, died soon after at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Appleby was arrested at his friend's house and taken to hospital, where at 4am he was found to have 133mgs of alcohol in 100ml of blood, against the legal limit of 80mgs.
It also emerged that Appleby had been fined £100 in October after driving to his first court appearance without insurance.
Sentencing Appleby, who was also banned from driving for six years, Judge Paul Glenn said: "Your driving was appalling and you treated Victoria Road like a racetrack.
"Two people lost their lives because of what you did and no sentence this court can impose can begin to make up for the tragic loss their families have suffered."
Speaking after the verdict, Mr Till's mum, Linda Till, said: "Our son's death has ruined our family."