St Leonards man jailed for causing death of 22-year-old Hastings motorist

A St Leonards man has been jailed after being found guilty of causing the death of a young motorist through dangerous driving.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 3:55 pm
Court news. NNL-170524-154443005

John Verlander, of Chambers Road, lost control of his car during an overtake manoeuvre near Maidstone, colliding with an oncoming Ford Fiesta.

Kent Police said the driver of the Ford Fiesta, a 22-year-old man also from the Hastings area, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Verlander, 38, pleaded not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. However, after a four-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court, he was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

He was also disqualified from driving for seven years and six months, and will be required to take an extended driving test.


At around 9.15pm on December 4, 2017, Verlander had been driving a Citroen C4 on Linton Hill towards Staplehurst behind two other cars. As they approached a bend, he overtook the two vehicles but lost control of his car as it returned to the correct side, according to Kent Police.

It then veered onto the other side of the road colliding with an oncoming Ford Fiesta travelling towards Linton. Kent Police said the Ford Fiesta came to a halt in a ditch at the side of the road, killing the young man behind the wheel.

Investigating officer, Police Constable Simon Masterson of Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The driver’s decision to overtake two cars showed appalling judgement and led to the needless death of a young man.

“This tragic incident should send a clear message to motorists that they must think twice and not attempt dangerous manoeuvres as they can lead to serious injury or worse.

“I would like to thank the witnesses who assisted us in this investigation.”