Driver facing jail after killing Sunderland teenager – string of shocking previous offences revealed

The scene after the incident in Ormonde Street
The scene after the incident in Ormonde Street
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A RAGE-FUELLED driver who killed a student while acting like he “owned the road” has a shocking string of motoring convictions, it has been revealed.

Sarah Jane Burke suffered catastrophic injuries when she was struck by David Baillie’s Volvo on Ormonde Street, Sunderland, on September 17, last year.

Sarah Jane Burke

Sarah Jane Burke

The talented teenager, who was excelling on an art and design course at Sunderland College, suffered multiple fractures and brain injury, which took her life five days later.

Her parents and sister, who she lived with, were left devastated by her death.

Taxi driver Baillie, who was off duty when he hit Sarah, denied causing her death by dangerous driving, but was found guilty by a jury just over an hour of deliberation.

After the foreman delivered the unanimously guilty verdict, Baillie’s previous convictions, which include two for dangerous driving, were revealed in court.

Prosecutor Nick Dry said: “He has about 10 for theft of motor vehicles and taking without consent, five for driving while disqualified and five for having no insurance.”

The court heard Baillie has served prison time in the past for his driving.

Sarah’s devastated mother and father had been in court for the entirety of the trial.

Baillie will be sentenced tomorrow and has been remanded in custody. Judge Paul Sloan, QC, warned him: “You must understand, a substantial sentence of imprisonment is inevitable in the circumstances of this case.”

Prosecutors say Baillie was “consumed by a determination to overtake at all costs” when he ploughed into the teenager.

Sarah, 17, had been crossing the road on her way home from classes when she was hit by Baillie, who had a woman and small child with him in the car, as he tried to dangerously overtake a Vauxhall Corsa.

Witnesses claim Baillie had been “tailgating” the other vehicle from Barnes Park Road and had hit Sarah in his desperate effort to get in front.

One motorist said he thought Baillie was a “road rage” driver and another said he thought Baillie’s Volvo must be either stolen or being chased,

Another witness said: “It was as if the driver owned the road and no-one else was there.”

Baillie, of Magdelene Place, Sunderland, had pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, but denied his behaviour was dangerous.

The court heard Baillie initially blamed the Corsa driver for causing the accident, but went on to admit in police interview that his driving had been dangerous as he had been paying more attention to the other motorist than to the road ahead.

Mr Dry said after Sarah died, Baillie “changed his mind” and now says his driving was careless not dangerous.