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Driver jailed after killing Walsall pensioner

A driver has been jailed for nine years after killing an 80-year-old minutes after stealing fuel from a petrol station.

Terry Poole drove away from the Essar service station in Ablewell Street, near Walsall town centre, without paying after filling up just before 11am on 19 April this year.

Terry Poole
Terry Poole

A garage worker in a van followed the silver Mercedes convertible while on the phone to police, but lost Poole when he sped off along the A461 Lichfield Road.

Witnesses saw the Mercedes hitting speeds of up to 90mph in a 30mph zone, overtaking several vehicles on the wrong side of the road.

Poole, aged 42, of no fixed address, hit Salvatore Bongiovi, who was making his way across Lichfield Road towards a bus stop after delivering shopping to a housebound friend.

Poole sped away from the scene before travelling through a red light and disappearing from witnesses.

Mr Bongiovi was left with fractured to the head, chest and leg, and later died in hospital.

Police soon found the Mercedes parked in Brundard Close, Blakenall. Nearby was a broken rear numberplate that was on the car during the theft of the petrol.

Police found Poole with an associate and he was arrested and then charged.  He protested his innocence at trial and tried to blame his then girlfriend, who was in the van at the time.

She has since died.

Today he was jailed at Wolverhampton Crown Court after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.

PC Paul du Cros of West Midlands Police’s Collision Investigation Unit, welcomed the sentence. 

“This collision has had a devastating effect on the family of Mr Bongiovi, we extend our thoughts to his family.

“We are pleased with the sentence, which will give Terry Poole time to contemplate the consequences of his actions.”

A family statement released at the time said Mr Bongiovi was ‘the kindest, most loving and loved husband, father and grandfather.

“He was loved by everyone that met him and taken from us so cruelly, and in the most unimaginable way."