A hit-and-run driver who killed a man and his beloved pet dog while they walked down a country lane has been jailed for four years.
Joshua Butler, 22, ploughed his car into Stuart Blackwell, 40, and his faithful labrador Oscar before driving off and leaving them both for dead in the gutter.
Stuart had been walking his pet along the pavement of the A5127 in Streethay, Lichfield, Staffs., at 7.40am on December 14 when he was struck by Butler’s Rover 25 car.
Emergency crews were unable to save Stuart who was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Butler, from Lichfield, handed himself in to police the following morning where he was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop.
At Stafford Crown Court he was jailed for four years after he pleaded guilty to both charges at an earlier hearing.
After the case DC Andy Weatherley, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Mr Blackwell was a responsible dog walker who took the same route at the same time every week day for eight years.
“His wife and daughter always expected him to return home and when he didn’t it was the worst news they could ever receive.
“Butler’s car mounted the pavement and hit Stuart and Oscar before Butler left the scene, only to hand himself in several hours later.
“He is now in prison which will, hopefully, bring some closure for Stuart’s family as they continue to mourn his tragic and unnecessary loss.”
Simon, from Lichfield, leaves behind his wife Clare, 39, and their eight-year-old daughter.
Paying tribute to her husband Mrs Blackwell said: “Making an early guilty plea was the one thing Mr Butler could do which will allow our family to begin to face our future without my husband, Stuart.
“I believe this decision took bravery and compassion and I was glad to see that Mr Butler had the support of his family in court.
“A custodial sentence will not bring Stuart and Oscar home from their walk but I very much hope it will deter other drivers from making irresponsible choices in the future.
“As the legal process draws to a close, my daughter and I can begin to grieve for our loss and remember Stuart as a caring, fun-loving, devoted daddy and husband.”