Jail for hit-and-run drink driver who killed Fleetwood dad Michael Meekins

Lee Gallagher (top left) has been jailed for killing Michael Meekins as he walked near his Fleetwood home with wife Paula
Lee Gallagher (top left) has been jailed for killing Michael Meekins as he walked near his Fleetwood home with wife Paula

A Fleetwood man has been jailed for three and a half years for killing a man who was out celebrating his wife's birthday.

Lee Gallagher, of Chatsworth Avenue, had been drinking at the time of the incident and drove off from the scene, on Prince's Way, Fleetwood, before handing himself in to police.

Michael Meekins was killed in a hit and run collision on Prince's Way, Fleetwood, as he walked with his wife Paula

Michael Meekins was killed in a hit and run collision on Prince's Way, Fleetwood, as he walked with his wife Paula

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty to causing the death of Robert Michael Meekins, 63, by careless driving while unfit through alcohol.

Preston Crown Court heard Mr Meekins, known to his friends as Michael, was holding hands with his wife Paul as they walked near their home after celebrating her birthday with relatives.

At around 8.30pm on January 24 last year, as they walked south along Prince's Way, Gallagher mounted the kerb in his black Volkswagen Golf, hitting Mr Meekins from behind and throwing him into the air.

The 63-year-old died at the scene as a result of extensive head injuries.

But Gallager carried on driving and fled the area, the court heard.

Shortly afterwards, he called a friend and arranged for his car to be left at the man’s workshop so a new windscreen – which was damaged in the collision – could be fitted. He did not tell the friend what he had done.

After hearing Mr Meekins had died he turned himself in at Fleetwood police station and confessed, telling officers where they would find the vehicle.

Police went on to discover Gallagher had been drinking cider and port at a bar with friends prior to the collision.

Speaking after the sentencing, senior investigating officer John Jennings-Wharton, of Lancashire Police's Road Policing Unit, said: “Firstly my thoughts are with Michael’s family who have conducted themselves with such dignity despite suffering a brutal loss in such a graphic, sudden and tragic way.

“This was initially made worse by the fact that Lee Gallagher, the driver, fled the scene. He did, however, later decide to do the right thing and hand himself in but only the following morning after there no alcohol left in his system.

“Despite today’s result, there really are no winners in this situation as Michael’s family have lost their dearly loved husband and father whilst Lee Gallagher, a young man, is now going to prison; all of which could have been avoided had he not decided to drive after drinking.

“I hope this case serves as a warning to drivers of the potential dangers and consequences of drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel. They aren’t just risking their own lives but also the safety of other people which ultimately, could result in someone’s death. Lee Gallagher will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life.”