Sunderland road rage taxi driver convicted of causing death of Sarah Jane Burke

Talented art and design student Sarah Jane Burke was mown down and killed by a road rage driver, off-duty cabbie David Baillie

David Baillie leaving Newcastle Crown Court
David Baillie leaving Newcastle Crown Court

Killer driver David Baillie is facing a lengthy jail term after he was convicted of causing the death of a teenage girl during a road rage incident with another driver.

Talented art and design student Sarah Jane Burke, 17, was on her way home from college when off-duty taxi driver Baillie ploughed into her as she crossed the road.

A court heard Baillie was, at the time of the collision, involved in a road rage incident with the driver of a Vauxhall Corsa, which was in front of his Volvo S60 as they travelled along a 30mph road in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Baillie, who had a young child and a woman in the car, swerved and accelerated to get past the Corsa as Sarah was crossing the road.

Baillie, who afterwards described the youngster as “like a rabbit in the headlights”, crashed into her, throwing her into the air and she landed on her head. She suffered multiple injuries and died five days later in hospital from her injuries.

After jurors convicted Baillie of causing death by dangerous driving yesterday, he was warned he faces a substantial prison sentence.

Sarah Jane Burke who was knocked down and killed on Ormonde Street, Sunderland
Sarah Jane Burke who was knocked down and killed on Ormonde Street, Sunderland
 

Judge Paul Sloan QC is due to pass sentence on Baillie tomorrow and remanded him in custody.

After he was convicted, the court heard he has two previous convictions for dangerous driving, 10 for theft of a motor vehicle, five for driving with no insurance and one for driving while disqualified.

Prosecutors said that as he overtook the Corsa, Baillie was focusing on the other driver alongside him, rather than the road ahead.

Sarah, described in court as a “talented teenager”, had been on her way home from college on September 17 last year. The teenager, who lived with her parents and sister in Sunderland was crossing the city’s Ormonde Street around 5.30pm when she was hit.

Prosecutor Nick Dry said Baillie had been seen driving dangerously before the impact as he became enraged by Corsa driver Paul Potter.

Mr Potter, who was taking his 12-year-old daughter to her grandmother’s, said Baillie pulled up alongside him at traffic lights, where one lane filters into two.

Mr Potter, a bus driver, pulled away but said Baillie kept accelerating very close behind him and another witness estimated he was within a foot at times.

As they travelled along Ormonde Street, Baillie made the fatal overtaking move near a zebra crossing.

Mr Potter braked to let Baillie past but it was too late to prevent him hitting Sarah.

Baillie, 40, of Magdalene Place, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving as his trial was about to start but denied the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

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