A DRIVER faces a lengthy jail sentence after killing an elderly man in a hit-and-run while being chased by police.

Gavin Dawes was already on bail for a previous dangerous driving offence when he raced through the Old Steine in Brighton on January 10.

Shortly after 10pm he hit 78-year-old Jonos Sasvari, killing him.

Dawes, 33, yesterday pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving. He also admitted driving dangerously along Lewes Road, Coombe Road, Bear Road, Old Steine and Madeira Drive.

Police gave chase after he was spotted driving dangerously in a Vauxhall Astra and failed to pull over at around 10pm.

He continued driving into the centre of Brighton where he hit Mr Sasvari.

He did not stop and carried on to Madeira Drive, where he abandoned the car.

But Dawes handed himself in the following morning.

The road was closed off for most of the following day while forensic teams combed the area for evidence.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the police’s role in the incident was launched and is continuing.

In February Dawes was found guilty of speeding away from police and hitting speeds of up to 60mph at around 8pm on September 19 last year in Eastern Road.

Dawes, of Phoenix Rise, Brighton, narrowly missed a cyclist and caused a pedestrian to jump out of his way.

Brighton magistrates found his alibi, that he was at a friend’s house at the time, to be “implausible”.

Daniel Frier, defending Dawes yesterday, asked Judge Jeremy Gold for permission to have a psychiatric report prepared before he is sentenced for all the offences.

Mr Frier said: “[Dawes has experienced] symptoms consistent with mental health problems for a long period of time.

“In his young life he experienced violent and deeply traumatic events including witnessing a friend being stabbed to death, his uncle throwing himself in front of a train and another friend murdered in Moulsecoomb.

“This will not in any way excuse his behaviour or driving on that night. It may go some way to explain why he acted the way he did.”

He suggested this may prevent anything similar happening in the future, adding that Dawes was “utterly sorry” for what he did.

Judge Gold warned him to expect a custodial sentence.

Dawes was remanded in custody until June 16.

  • Richard Woolgar, 35, of Donald Hall Road, Brighton, has been charged with dangerous driving, as well as driving without a licence or insurance on January 10. He was released on bail to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.