Cousins jailed after 100mph crash killed Portsmouth teenager

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PCSOs and police officers around Priory School this afternoon

Police speak to school after fight in Southsea play park

A cowardly driver who ran off after killing a 19-year-old in a crash ‘showing off’ while driving up to 100mph has been jailed.

Luke Fletcher, a performing arts student, was knocked out and died minutes after Zax Ross-Harris crashed the Nissan Almera belonging to his cousin Danny Ross-Barringer.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Ross-Harris had drunk seven pints in the pub with his father in the afternoon before the crash at 11.17pm on January 23 last year.

The 22-year-old sped between roundabouts on Portsdown Hill in the Nissan before suffering a ‘catastrophic loss of control’ in wet conditions on the B2177 at Pitymoor Lane.

Rear passengers Luke and Sonny Wedge had begged Ross-Harris to stop but he refused, prosecutor Andrew Houston said.

The court heard that the car span out of control off the B2177 going backwards off the carriageway before crashing into trees and ending on its side off the road.

Luke died minutes into the next day while his fellow passenger Sonny suffered a brain trauma and broke seven ribs.

Today Ross-Harris has been jailed for eight years for causing death by driving and Ross-Barringer for six years for aiding and abetting.

Sentencing, judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘No sentence measured in months or years can ever atone for what you did, no punishment will ever be enough for Luke’s family.’

The judge added: ‘The harm you caused was irreparable.

Ross-Harris, who was described as acting ‘hectic’ before the crash, had got behind the wheel after Ross-Barringer had also driven the car badly in a ‘persistently and deliberate’ way.

When the crash happened Ross-Harris fled the scene and was found by police at his house.

Interviewed by police he repeatedly lied, denying he was involved at all.

He told police: ‘If I drove that car I would tell you but I did not drive it.’

But he fell silent when blood on both airbags linked him to the car, along with hair on the seat belt linked him to the Nissan.

Speaking in court, Paulsgrove teenager Luke’s mother Sarah Hiscutt said: ‘I’ve had my heart ripped out, my mind scrambled, my life turned within me. I will never be the same. I will carry Luke’s death and the pain it has caused me to my grave.’

She added: ‘Every day is a void of nothingness without Lukey. Every evening is cold and dark without Luke.’

The court heard she had been told on the phone of her son’s death. Mrs Hiscutt added: ‘It’s changed our lives forever, even now it’s so hard to believe. I wish it had been me.’

Adam Fletcher, Luke’s brother, told the court ‘numbness’ was the only thing sparking him from ‘the pit of despair’.

Luke was carer to his disabled sister Robyn, who has been left devastated by his death.

Dad-of-two Ross-Harris of Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove, previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury to Sonny by dangerous driving, causing death while driving unlicensed, and while uninsured.

Ross-Barringer, 25, Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove, admitted aiding and abetting the following: causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing death by driving unlicensed, and while uninsured.

Ross-Barringer has no previous convictions.

Robert Grey, for Ross-Barringer, said: ‘He is truly remorseful for what has happened and is remorseful for what happened to Luke, and to Luke’s family and friends, to all those who knew him, and he’s very sorry for the injuries caused to Sonny Wedge.’

Nicholas Robinson, for Ross-Harris, said the driver had emotional instability disorder.

Reading a letter from the defendant, Mr Robinson said: ‘I’m sorry for the heartache I’ve caused to you and your family.’

Ross-Harris was banned from driving for 14 years and Ross-Barringer for 13 years.

They must take an extended retest before driving.