Paddy Doherty family angered as driver who killed nephew avoids jail

Paddy Doherty’s family react angrily as BMW driver avoids jail for killing Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star’s nephew in crash while he raced horse and cart

  • Michael ‘Mikey’ Connors, 30, was catapulted into the air when BMW struck cart 
  • He came crashing down on tarmac and died at scene from severe head injuries 
  • Billy Budd, 31, tried to flee but was chased by a witness before police were called
  • Mr Connors’ family looked visibly angry as Budd got off with just a driving ban

Billy Budd, 31, was handed a two-year driving ban but avoided jail after killing Paddy Doherty’s nephew last year

A BMW driver who killed the nephew of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty when he ploughed into his horse and cart has avoided a prison sentence.

Michael ‘Mikey’ Connors, 30, was catapulted into the air when motorist Billy Budd struck him on the A2016 Eastern Way dual carriageway in Thamesmead, London, in July last year.     

Mr Connors, a cart racing champion dubbed ‘King of the Road’, came crashing down on the tarmac and died at the scene from severe head injuries.

His £12,000 prize horse, named Tony Montana, had to be euthanised on the carriageway after the sports car crushed its back and pelvis.  

Budd, 31, tried to flee but was chased by a witness who forced him into the central reservation and called police. 

Around half a dozen family members and friends from each family went along to the sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court today.

Members of Mr Connors’ family clutched a large photo of their lost loved one surrounded by clouds and heavenly rays and looked visibly angry. 

After the sentencing, a teary-eyed female member of Mr Connors’ family approached Budd and said: ‘You killed my brother.’

Michael ‘Mikey’ Connors, 30, was competing in a horse-drawn cart race when Budd’s BMW ploughed into the back of him and killed him

Mr Connors was the nephew of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty, who is pictured with a tribute tattoo at his funeral last month

Judge Joanna Korner said: ‘I describe this as a tragic case. It could be said that all such cases of this kind fall into that category.

‘His death had been devastating for the whole family. His mother described him as the organiser of the family whose siblings relied on.

‘It is right to say that any sentence passed on the man responsible for bringing about this situation cannot regrettably change the reality or the loss that Mr Connors’ family is suffering.

‘What caused this accident was clearly the defendant becoming distracted by something, nobody knows – least of all him, so that he utterly failed to see Mr Connors.

‘Remorse is the strongest mitigating factors and in this case there is no doubt in my judgement that this defendant is deeply and genuinely remorseful.

‘It’s remorse, in my judgement, not brought about by self pity but because he does understand what he has done to the Connors family.’ 

The court heard how Mr Budd, who bowed his head, while his sentence was handed down, had a ‘personality change’ since the crash – becoming ‘withdrawn’ and ‘depressed young man to the extent that he is on medication.’

A probation report read by the judge recommended not sending him to prison.

It said: ‘There is nothing the court can do to Mr Budd that will punish him more than he is already punishing himself as he relives the events of that day.

‘It would serve to exacerbate the problems and increase the risk of him committing suicide.’

Mr Budd was ordered to complete two 18 month long community orders requiring him to complete 300 hours of unpaid work for causing death by dangerous driving and 100 hours for damaging property, in respect to the horse.

Both are to run at the same time. He was also disqualified from driving for two years. 

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