A speeding cocaine dealer doing 100mph in an Audi killed a young Everton fan then blamed his victim.
Everton supporters later paid tribute to popular Mr Caine with a minute’s applause at a home game at Goodison Park.
But after hitting Mr Caine’s Ford Fiesta in the “borrowed” Audi S3 Quattro, he lied to police, claiming he was only doing 40mph and Mr Caine “pulled out” on him.
Pearson, 28, of East Prescot Road, West Derby, today admitted causing Mr Caine’s death by dangerous driving.
Jailing him for six years, Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said: “There was no reason for you to drive fast.
“You did it because you wanted to drive a new, borrowed, high speed car, regardless of the danger that you caused to others, doing so for your own pleasure.”
Mr Caine was making a right turn onto Queens Drive, from Stanley Park Avenue North, when his offside was hit by the Audi, at around 10pm.
Pearson said he had “borrowed” the car – with only 493 miles on the clock – that day and been out for a meal with two friends in Crosby.
Judge Driver said: “So it was a brand new car?”
Robert Dudley, prosecuting, replied: “Effectively.”
Mr Dudley said neither driver had any alcohol or drugs in their system and the crash on the 40mph road was caused by Pearson’s “grossly excessive speed”.
A 15-year-old girl described how the Fiesta had “barrel-rolled” and ended up lying on its passenger side against a wall.
Mr Dudley said the Audi hit a fence then a lamppost, which it “completely unrooted,” and came to a rest on its wheels against another wall.
The eye witness said she heard the “really loud” Audi coming because of its speed and the Fiesta, which was going at a normal speed, stopped just before impact – she thought when its driver saw the Audi.
Pearson, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and had a “dummy latchplate” fitted to deactivate the Audi’s seatbelt warning, got out with two friends, including a rear passenger who also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and had hit the windscreen.
They went to the Fiesta to see if they could help, but by chance an off duty paramedic, John Court, who was out with his family, stopped and climbed into the car.
Mr Court found Mr Caine unconscious with shallow breathing and a weak pulse.
An ambulance arrived and he was taken to hospital, but died from multiple injuries, including major chest trauma and swelling to the brain, at 10.40pm.
Pearson told police he was the driver and had been doing 40mph, before he and his friends were taken to hospital.
Mr Dudley said: “It is fair to say that the defendant was distraught at the hospital, he was repeatedly asking the police if the other driver was okay and whether there had been any mistake.”
Liverpool’s courts are some of the busiest in the UK, with a huge variety of cases being heard each week.
To get a behind the scenes look at how they work and the moments that don’t make our stories, subscribe to our free weekly Echo Court Files newsletter, written by court reporters Neil Docking and Lauren Wise.
How do I sign up?
It’s free, easy and takes no time at all.
- First just click on this link to our newsletter sign-up centre.
- Once you’re there, put your email address where it says at the top, then click on the Echo Court Files button. There are other newsletters available too if you want them as well.
- When you’ve made your choice, press the Save Changes button at the bottom.
Judge Driver interjected: “He may have been distraught at the hospital, but when he was interviewed a couple of months later, he lied to the police, saying he was doing 40mph, and he in part blamed the deceased.”
A computer in the Audi measured Pearson’s speed five seconds before impact at 92mph, with the accelerator pedal 41% down, and two seconds before impact at 101mph, with the pedal 100% down.
Mr Dudley said the Crown couldn’t say whether the increase in speed was an attempt by Pearson to get around the Fiesta, but CCTV footage from a nearby bookmakers showed the Audi travelling between 82mph and 104mph prior to the crash.
When interviewed in May 2019, Pearson said it was “the dodgiest junction” but he was driving normally at around 40mph.
Pearson said he saw the Fiesta edge out, so braked, the Fiesta stopped, so he accelerated, when “he’s just pulled out literally right on me”.
Told about the Audi’s recorded speeds, he said there was “no chance on earth” he was even doing 70mph, adding: “If this lad wouldn’t have pulled out of that junction, there wouldn’t have been a road traffic accident.”
Pearson was on crown court bail at the time over two allegations – dangerous driving and possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
The dangerous driving allegation related to an incident on September 5, 2018, when police saw him speeding in a BMW at 50mph in a 30mph zone on Prescot Road towards Old Swan, undertaking other vehicles, at school pick up time.
He was due to stand trial over that charge in March 2019, when prosecutors accepted a plea of careless driving “on the basis of excessive speed”.
Judge Driver said the cocaine conviction, for which Pearson was jailed for 30 months in May 2019, involved police stopping his car because he was “driving at speed” in October 2017.
Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said Pearson indicated a guilty plea before magistrates and was entitled to full credit of one third off his sentence.
He accepted Pearson tried to “diminish” what he had done in his interview and “distance himself” from the real speed, but said he now realised the “enormity” of what he had done in the “horrific collision” and had depression and mental health issues.
Mr Parry-Jones highlighted a delay in the case coming to court and quoted his client saying: “No words can express how sorry I am and if I could change anything in the world, it would be that night.”
Judge Driver said: “The untimely death of Phillip Caine was a tragedy for him and for his loving family.
“Their agony is expressed in statements that are painful to read or hear. No sentence that the court can lawfully impose is likely to seem sufficient to them.”
He told Pearson: “The speed limit was 40mph. The speed at which you drove was grossly faster. At the time of the collision it was about 100mph.
“That may be because that speed increased in the last seconds, as you attempted to avoid collision, but before that, before you realised there was a problem, you were driving at around 90mph.
“That speed would be dangerous on the straightest of roads, but you were approaching a bend.”
The judge said a “grave aggravating feature” was the fact he was on bail for dangerous driving at the time.
Judge Driver banned Pearson from driving for eight years as members of his family sobbed.
For the latest news and breaking news visit http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/.
Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you.
Follow us on Twitter @LivECHONews – the official Liverpool ECHO Twitter account – real news in real time.
We’re also on Facebook/theliverpoolecho – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout the day from the Liverpool ECHO.