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Hit-and-run driver jailed for father-of-two’s death

Billy Woodcraft (pictured), 21, has been jailed for two years for the hit-and-run death of father-of-two Piotr Caban

A hit-and-run driver who killed a father-of-two just 18 days before his wife gave birth to their daughter has been jailed for two years.

Piotr Caban, 42, was on his way home from collecting the keys to his family’s new flat when he was mown down by 21-year-old Billy Woodcraft in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.  

Despite the impact of the crash shattering the window of his silver Mini Cooper, Woodcraft drove off and left the Polish IT specialist lying in the road with catastrophic head injuries.

Mr Caban’s wife Sylwia, also 42, was heavily pregnant at the time and was preparing to give birth to the couple’s second child in Poland having planned to join her husband in Welwyn Garden City once their little girl was old enough to make the journey. 

Baby Jasmina, now aged 10 months, was born on February 20 this year, just 18 days after her father passed away.

Due to her pregnancy Mrs Caban was unable to fly to England after getting the news of the collision, and instead their 23-year-old daughter Ewa travelled to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on her own to say goodbye to her beloved father who passed away the day after the collision.  

At St Albans Crown Court, Ewa read out a tribute to her father, who was originally from Wroclaw, Poland.

Mr Caban had picked up the keys to his family's new flat when he was hit

Sylwia, was heavily pregnant at the time and gave birth to Jasmina 18 days later

Mr Caban (left) had picked up the keys to his family’s new flat when he was hit. His wife, Sylwia, was heavily pregnant at the time and gave birth to Jasmina 18 days later (both pictured right)

She said: ‘The effect of me and mum losing dad was extra hard and is still affecting us to this day.

‘Dad and I shared a lot of similar interests, but I now feel like I have no one to talk to about those things. Any time I needed advice I came to him and my mum.

‘He helped me choose my subject at university to study which was the same as his. Any time I needed a hug or consolation I came to him. He was the one who comforted me when I was heartbroken.

‘My mum loved my dad very much. She trusted him and she valued his advice, but now she feels like she has no one to turn to. He was her pillar of strength, her best friend.

‘He was her life. After so many years together they didn’t need words to know what they think or feel. He gave her many happy memories, which are with her every single day.

‘I think the hardest thing we all need to cope with is my baby sister Jasmina will never get to meet her dad. He was a great dad to me and has given me a great grounding and start to life.

‘I know he would have been a great dad and would have provided a great life for her. She would have been well loved. My dad will be much missed and our world is very empty without him.’

Mr Caban's eldest daughter Ewa (pictured with Jasmina) paid an emotional tribute to her father at St Alban's Crown Court

Mr Caban’s eldest daughter Ewa (pictured with Jasmina) paid an emotional tribute to her father at St Alban’s Crown Court

The court had heard how Woodcraft had been driving ‘dangerously’ after the devastating smash at the junction between Mundells and Tewin Road in Welwyn Garden City.

In his escape, he was said to have overtaken another car at high speed and driven on the wrong side of a traffic island on Bridge Road East.

It was later found that Woodcraft, of Birch Green in Hertford, had also been driving faster than the 60mph speed limit as he accelerated away from the scene, and had attempted to get rid of the damaged windscreen, which carried Mr Caban’s DNA.

However, after numerous appeals for information were published by police and the local press, the offender handed himself in to the police at Hatfield Police Station on the afternoon of February 7. 

He was subsequently charged.

As he jailed Woodcraft for two years the judge, Mr Recorder Jacobs QC at St Albans Crown Court, said this was a ‘tragic case where Woodcraft had robbed the family of a life they would have had’.

He added the public would be ‘horrified’ at Woodcraft’s actions on the day of the incident, when he left Mr Caban lying in the road at night ‘where he could have been run over by other motorists’.

He added: ‘You then drove away at high speed in an urban area with a damaged windscreen. It’s a wonder you weren’t involved in another collision.’