A HIT and run driver was warned he is facing a prison sentence after being found guilty of killing a teenager on a mountain road.

Derek Richards, 38, of Morgan Street, Blaenavon, was convicted by a jury of causing the death of Rhys Dobson by driving without due care and attention.

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During his trial, prosecutor Alexander Greenwood claimed the defendant had fled the scene because he was high on amphetamine and cannabis.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Richards tested positive for the drugs when he was arrested hours after his car had ploughed over the 19-year-old Mr Dobson.


The father-of-three maintained he had taken speed and smoked a joint just before he was taken into police custody.

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Rhys Dobson with his father Colin

Richards’ defence was that he believed he had driven over fly-tipping like a washing machine or fridge on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

You fled because you had a significant amount of illegal drugs in your system

Events management worker Mr Dobson was struck by the defendant’s Citroen C3 during the early hours of the morning as he walked home to Pontypool.

The jury heard he had made the journey along Varteg Road in Blaenavon after being unable to book a taxi following a night out with friends.

Mr Greenwood accused Richards of being a recreational amphetamine user.

He said the amount of the class B drug in his blood at the time was in the range of “toxic/fatal”.

The prosecutor put it to the defendant: “You fled the scene because you had a significant amount of illegal drugs in your system.”

Qualified HGV driver Richards denied the allegation and said he had no idea at the time he had struck a human being.

He claimed he smoked cannabis after the collision to calm him down and took amphetamine to sharpen him up because he had to call his insurer.

After the guilty verdict was returned, Judge Nicola Jones told Mr Dobson’s family in court: “I would like to thank you for your dignity throughout these proceedings.

“I can’t imagine how difficult this must have been and for you to lose a young man who had so much potential.

“Please accept my sincerest feelings and sympathy for your loss.”

She also commended the jury and thanked them for their public service.

Turning to Richards, the judge told him: “I have to warn you that this is a case where the custody threshold has been crossed.”

The defendant’s sentence was adjourned to Friday, May 21 for the preparation of a Probation Service report.

Richards was granted bail.