Grieving mum who held dying son in arms thought his body was rubbish bag in street



A mother told how she spotted what she thought was a bag of rubbish dumped in the street – only to find it was her teenage son dying in the road following a hit and run crash.

Council worker Paula Allen had gone out looking for Marcus Simmons-Allen, 18, after being alerted about the impact near their family home.

But she ended up being first on the accident scene and cradled the youngster in her arms as he lay fatally injured.

Moments earlier Marcus, who was due to start his first day of college, had been run down at 69mph and left to die by Connor Matthews, 23, who was driving a stolen car.

Despite the teen’s mum and dad’s efforts to revive him, Marcus succumbed to his injuries in hospital the following morning.

At Manchester Crown Court, Mrs Allen who is in her 40s fought back tears as Matthews, from Stretford, was jailed for six years and eight months.


Marcus Simmons-Allen died following the horror crash
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Marcus Simmons-Allen/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

The court heard how the motorist had no driving license and had previously been issued with as ASBO.

Mrs Allen said in a statement: ‘Finding my son that night, like a bag of rubbish fly tipped at the side of the road, haunts me.

”I was the first person at Marcus’s side, holding him, trying to find his pulse. His lifeless body of him, my son dying in my arms.

“Time stood still. My precious son was going, fading. I found myself running into the road, stopping the traffic and screaming, pleading for anyone to help, for anyone to save him.

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”I knew he was in a bad way, really bad. As mothers we are there to love, mend, fix, provide and advise. I was now helpless trying to save my sons life.

Connor Matthews has been jailed over the crash
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Connor Matthews/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

“Emergency services and strangers were fighting to keep Marcus alive. As the short hours passed, we had to accept that Marcus could not and would not ever survive.”

The tragedy occurred on October 10 last year after Marcus had popped out to buy a pint of milk with his friend Connor Kelly.

Both checked for oncoming cars as they were about to cross a dual carriageway but as they set off, Matthews who was on his way to a party suddenly appeared in a VW Scirocco driving at high speed.

Marcus attempted to jog across the road in an attempt to get to the other side but had barely got two peaces when he was hit by the vehicle.

Prosecutor David Lees said: ”He was hit by the car and flung through the air landing some distance away. Matthews then slowed down before driving off again.


Marcus had popped out to buy a pint of milk with his friend Connor Kelly
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Marcus Simmons-Allen/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

“Connor Kelly called out to a pedestrian to call the police then decided to run back to Marcus’ house to tell Ms Allen. He then ran back to the scene and stayed with his friend until the paramedics arrived.”

‘Ms Allen recalled how she had just got into her car when she saw Connor in a state of panic, the court heard.

He shouted ‘come quick, come quick it was Marcus’ and she drive off looking for her son, it was said.

Mr Lees continued: ”She could not see anything initially so turned the car around. It was then that she could see something that she initially thought was a bag of fly tipped rubbish on the road.

“To her horror she then realized that it was her son.”

Connor Matthews had been speeding at 69mph
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Connor Matthews/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

In her statement read to the court Mrs Allen told how she pulled up just before where Marcus was laying and put on her hazard lights.

“I think I shouted at Connor who had gone to the floor in horror upon arriving on foot to where Marcus lay,” she said.

”He was lying face down on the pavement approximately 2.5 meters from the lamp posts down from the crossing area where Marcus got hit by the car. I screamed at Connor to ring an ambulance and the police.”

The mum checked Marcus’s body to see if he was responsive and noticed a gaping wound on his right eyebrow and his right eye was swollen, she said.

She discovered a pulse and reassured her son including in the ambulance.


Marcus was described as a ”very loving and joyous” person
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Marcus Simmons-Allen/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Marcus was described by his family as ”very loving and joyous” person who had been working towards his degree in engineering.

‘Unfortunately the day he sadly passed away was supposed to be his first day at college,” his mum added.

“His death has ripped our family apart. My son left the house to walk with his friend and never returned home.

”The point of physical impact that caused Marcus’s death is visible from my driveway, just a short 100 meters from our property.

”We as a family are unable to leave our home to complete everyday tasks such as, buying bread and milk, leaving to attend work, doing the school run and other general errands without the reminder and the flashbacks of that horrific night in which our lives changed forever.”


The 18-year-old had been working towards his engineering degree
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Marcus Simmons-Allen/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

”Since the incident, Mrs Allen said the family have had to find another way around the estate because they cannot bear to drive past the site where flowers still lay at the roadside.

The VW was found dumped a mile away and inquiries revealed it has been stolen from a house in Oldham the previous month. Matthews was arrested at a house in Liverpool five days later. I have admitted knocking down Marcus before ”panicking” and driving off.

The court heard Matthews had 12 previous offenses on his record including robbery, criminal damage and possessing cannabis and had been issued with an ASBO which he repeatedly ignored. He was banned from driving in 2017 for driving without insurance or a license.

In mitigation his lawyer Dominic Thomas said: ”The defendant is profoundly sorry and he always will be for what he has done. It has been a deeply harrowing experience for Marcus’ family and there is no possibility of putting any of that right. He knows it will always be profoundly unfair he is here when Marcus is not.”


Marcus’s mother had to find his body following the crash
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Marcus Simmons-Allen/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Sentencing Matthews, Judge Hilary Manley told him: ”Marcus was just starting to find his feet in adult life and you took that life and all the promise and hope of his future from him.

“You have never held a driving license, but that clearly hasn’t held you back from driving when you feel like it and it didn’t stop you from making the clear decision to get behind the wheel of a powerful, stolen vehicle and to casually treat it as your own, driving to a party, and thereafter, giving a lift to a friend.

”You were traveling very rapidly and struck Marcus with force. I had not been driving when you were not permitted to drive, and at such a grossly excessive speed, he would be alive today.

”Marcus’s mother had to find him where he had been flung, on the road, alone, looking like a discarded bag of garbage that had been fly-tipped.

”By making yourself scarce, you have ensured that the police have not been able to establish whether or not you had been drinking or taking drugs at the party you attended before getting behind the wheel.”

”Marcus’ brutal and untimely death has robbed him of his future. You have a young child but he will never know what it is to be a parent. You can look to a future that will start up again upon your release, when you are still only in your mid-twenties. He has no future and his family of him have nothing to look forward to which will not bring with it the searing ache of his absence of him.”

Matthews was also banned from driving for five years which will start when he is freed.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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