Jailed: Boozed and drugged-up driver hit and killed Irish OAP - who played clarinet for JFK - at up to 76mph

John ‘Frank’ Heneghan, 72, had been out drinking Guinness with his friends when he was hit and sent 60m through the air by the car’s impact.

A drunk and drugged-up driver who killed an Irish pensioner who once played clarinet for JFK was jailed for 14 years.

Anop Singh, 31, had been kicked out of a club with pals for spraying champagne just hours before he struck the 72-year-old with his car.

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Singh hit John ‘Frank’ Heneghan with his VW Golf in the early hours of August 12, 2017 before driving over his body to escape.

He was convicted on Wednesday of causing death by dangerous driving and driving dangerously.

At an earlier trial he was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Singh already has 12 convictions for 15 offences, including for drink driving after he had killed Mr Heneghan.

Judge Noel Lucas slammed the serial offender for not showing the “slightest tinge of remorse or the slightest empathy”.

John ‘Frank’ Heneghan. Credit: CPS / SWNS

Forensic investigators have estimated that Singh must have been driving between 47 and 76mph along Tottenham High Road, Haringey, a 30mph road.

Mr Heneghan had been out drinking Guinness with his friends and had left them on a bus at Seven Sisters station when he was sent 60m through the air by the car’s impact.

Singh then fled the scene after running over Mr Heneghan again on the floor, driving back to his home on Jessam Avenue with a smashed windscreen and a black eye.

He called the police saying he had been in an accident but he did not know how the Golf had ended up outside his house.

Louise Oakley, prosecuting, said: “By his own admission, that night he had consumed a quantity of alcohol, three or four shots, a pint of Guinness and a pint of lager.

“He told the custody sergeant that he had smoked a couple of spliffs. Because he did not call police immediately, police did not attend the address until eight in the morning and there was no sample of breath or blood.”

Speeding driver Anop Singh, who ran over and killed an elderly pedestrian before running over his body to escape, has been convicted. Credit: SWNS

Addressing Wood Green Crown Court, Ms Oakley said that Singh had attempted to hide the blood and shards of glass on his clothes by washing and drying them.

When questioned in trial why he had not produced his clothes to be examined he said it was because he wet himself and was embarrassed.

Singh was eventually convicted after four trials. After the first trial in September 2020 his barrister quit.

In the second, he was convicted of perverting the course of justice but the jury could not decide on the other two counts.

During the third trial, Singh tested positive for Covid-19 and continued to claim he was positive for six months, until police accompanied and filmed him taking a lateral flow test which was negative.

He has 12 convictions for 15 offences, including for drinking driving after he had killed Mr Heneghan.

Anop Singh’s black Volkswagen Golf. Credit: SWNS

Ms Oakley said: “This defendant was driving at a grossly excessive speed. He is a risk to other people. He is somebody, through his vehicle, that is capable of causing death.”

Mr Heneghan, from Kilmaine, County Mayo, played clarinet in an Irish Army band as a teenager.

In 1963, he performed for JFK at Shannon Airport and shook the president’s hand.

He moved to London in 1984 where he worked in construction and ran the Swan Tavern pub in Caledonian Road, only retiring a year before his death.

After retiring he liked to cycle through Tottenham Marshes with his West Highland Terrier named Mayo, according to his son Marcus.

He said: “He was fit as a fiddle. He would go to the doctors once a year, never had any health problems.

“He had another 15 to 20 years of life left in him.

“He played non-league football for Feltham Football Club in the 60s.

“When he returned to Ireland in the 70s, he founded the local football team which still exists to this day.

“I often wonder what went through his mind as he lay there in the street, alone, shivering from the shock and the cold, in excruciating agony as his life blood ebbed away.

“Maybe hoping that he could survive this, hoping that maybe he could still have some more time with his family and friends, hoping that maybe the strength he had shown all his life could save him one more time and this didn’t need to be the cruel end to his rich and wonderful life.”

Singh, of Clapton, east London, denied but was convicted of death by dangerous driving, driving dangerously and perverting the course of justice.

Clare Leslie, defending Singh, said: “His elderly brother died when he was 13, an infant had died when he was eight months old, something which has pervaded family life.

“And something he thinks about is the death of his own father when he was 17, still an adolescent.”

She also referenced an incident in which Singh was dumped in a bin by a Met Police officer after he was caught throwing conkers at people in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington.

He was 14 at the time and was later given £4,000 as a settlement.

Ms Leslie said: “He was called ‘bin boy’ by his peers and he struggled with that as a young man.”

Seven jurors from the trial returned to see Singh receive 14 years in prison as well as a 14-year driving ban.

Sentencing Singh, Judge Noel Lucas told him: “In addition to lying to police about your clothing, you have told lie upon lie upon lie in order to save your skin and so desperate have you been to lie that you have forgotten the lies you have told in the past.

“I have not seen the slightest tinge of remorse or the slightest empathy of the effect this has had on other people.

“What I found particularly disturbing was that having been convicted by jury, once the jury had left you thought it was appropriate to shout over the heads of Heneghan family to your own family to come visit you in prison.

“The consequences of Frank Heneghan’s death have reverberated through the family and have devastated them.

“It is clear to me that Frank Heneghan was good, hardworking and much-loved man.”

Singh wore a grey suit in the docks and told his mother not to cry as he was led down to the cells.