A car thief who knocked down and killed a chef in the early hours of the morning was snared by DNA, a court has been told.
Declan Mayes, 21, from Edinburgh, was caught by a drop of blood he left behind in the stolen Peugeot 207.His DNA was also found on the car key.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that Mayes lost control of the car shortly after stealing it in Fords Road, Edinburgh, at around 3am on March 7.
READ MORE: Edinburgh man appears in court charged with causing chef’s death
Mayes crashed into bushes and a fence then hit 35-year-old Lionel Simenya before crashing into a wall beside a footbridge and leaving the scene.
Mr Simenya was found lying face down in the road at 3:20am by two passers-by who dialled 999 and began chest compressions.
He had a severe head injury and one of his shoes was partially off his foot.
At 4:03am Mr Simenya was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mayes pled guilty to causing the death of Mr Simenya by dangerous driving in Fords Road, Edinburgh, on March 7.
Mayes lost control of the stolen Peugeot drove across a pavement, hit bushes and a fence before smashing into Mr Simenya.
He admitted stealing the car and driving while uninsured.
But he denied attempting to defeat the ends of justice by failing to stop and get emergency help for his victim and this not guilty plea was accepted by the prosecution.
Prosecutor Liam Ewing said: “The accused has a number of previous convictions including for reset, theft of a motor vehicle, attempted housebreaking, theft by housebreaking, assault and driving while disqualified.
“This case arises out of a break-in at a garage. After this the accused and another stole the Peugeot from outside the garage and he lost control of it.”
The court heard that victim Mr Simenya was born in Burundi, Africa, and educated in Belguim before coming to the UK.
At the time Mr Simenya was working as a chef with a pharmaceutical company and living in his van. His body was found 60 metres away from the van. A large kitchen knife with his DNA on it was on the ground five metres away from him.
Collision investigation experts concluded that given the limited damage to the vehicle the speed at the time was 'not fast.”
Mr Simenya died from a traumatic brain injury and also had fractures to his lower left leg.
Mayes handed himself into St Leonard's Police Station in Edinburgh on March 16.
Judge Lady Scott deferred sentence until next month for the preparation of background reports and to enable her to read victim impact statement from Mr Simenya's mother and one of his brothers.
Defence QC Gordon Jackson will give his plea in mitigation then.
Following the conviction, Detective Inspector Stuart Alexander from the Major Investigation Team, said: "Lionel Simenya had moved to the UK a number of years ago from his native Burundi and was working in Edinburgh as a chef when his life was so tragically cut short.
"This was a complex inquiry as we worked to ascertain what happened that night and we hope that Lionel’s family and friends now have some of the answers to how their loved one died and our thoughts remain with them at this time.
"By striking Lionel and leaving the scene, Declan Mayes showed complete disregard for Lionel’s life and I welcome today’s conviction.
"I’d like to thank the local community and members of the public who assisted officers whilst our investigation was ongoing.”
Mayes has been remanded in custody to be sentenced on 14th August.