Heartbroken daughter pays tribute to smash victim Michael Armstrong as killer driver Christopher Sanderson jailed for six months

The family of a much-loved dad who was fatally impaled after the car he was travelling in smashed into a garden fence have issued a heartfelt tribute.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 pm

Michael Armstrong, 35, was a back seat passenger when the Vauxhall left the road and ploughed into a fence of a Philadelphia property on February 16 last year.

The force of the collision saw the dark-coloured Zafira flatten 20-metres of fence in Kingston Mews.

Three panels of the wooden fence post pierced the dashboard – one of which impaled Mr Armstrong, who suffered fatal injuries to his stomach.

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Michael Armstrong.

Michael’s daughter Rebecca has now issued a statement paying tribute to her dad.

“I do not know whether Christopher Sanderson will one day be capable of acknowledging or accepting the enormity of what he has done,” Rebecca said.

“But I do know that that he must be held accountable for the consequences of his actions.

Michael Armstrong with daughter Rebecca

“Above all, he needs to understand, and to remember, that Michael was a good, kind, decent, loving and caring father, son and brother, whose gift was his remarkable ability to connect with people, to bring the best out in them, and in doing so bring them together.”

The court was told that driver Sanderson drove almost a mile following the collision before stopping on Ross Lea, Shiney Row.

An injured Michael and two other back-seat passengers got out of the vehicle, and an ambulance was then called after the pair noticed the injuries to Michael. Sadly, he died days later in hospital.

An investigation was launched and Sanderson, identified as the likely driver, was found in the Carlisle area.

The damaged fence.

Sanderson, of Claremont Drive, Shiney Row, pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving, dangerous driving, failing to report an accident, failing to stop after an accident and causing death by driving while uninsured.

Sergeant Paul McIntosh, of Northumbria Police’s motor patrols department, said: “This has been a devastating time for Michael’s family and our thoughts remain with all those who knew him.

“Sanderson was the driver on the night in question and was driving number of passengers home when the vehicle struck a kerb and left the road.

“The car then collided with a garden fence with such excessive force that it flattened the entire structure, with three panels piercing through the dashboard and fatally injuring Michael.

Christopher Sanderson Michael Armstrong

“Sanderson then drove almost a mile away from the initial collision before the severity of Michael’s injuries came to light.

“Despite knowing he was the driver, Sanderson did not contact police and was located by officers in Cumbria four days later. He must live with the consequences of his actions and know that his carelessness behind the wheel has devastated a family’s life forever.

“I hope this tragic case acts as a reminder that our roads can be a very dangerous place when they are used without due care or attention.”

The damaged car.
Police at the scene of the smash.