Killer teenage driver is jailed for four years

Jasmine Elkasmi
Jasmine Elkasmi

Thieves smash into vehicles parked at leisure centres

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A TEENAGE driver has started a prison sentence for causing the crash that killed his friend.

Harry Smith, 18, from Tangmere, near Chichester, was driving at excessive speeds when he lost control of his car on the A285 at Halnaker last September.

His friend, 16-year-old Jasmine Elkasmi, pictured, from Bognor, was killed instantly and two other passengers were seriously injured. One is still in hospital 10 months on.

Chichester Crown Court was told the recently-qualified motorist had been warned about his driving on two occasions by police – an officer told him he might kill someone just hours before the fatal collision.

‘That death and those injuries are the unwarranted consequence of your terrible foolishness in the face of not one, but two warnings,’ said sentencing Judge Christopher Parker QC.

‘You were warned about your driving then, as you had gone around a corner causing the tyres to screech and you had been sounding your horn.

‘You were told by the officer that you might kill somebody and less than five hours later that is exactly what you did.

‘You and the three 16-year-old girls, who were your passengers that night, all had before you very bright futures and all of you, no doubt, were filled with life.

‘All that has been brought to a catastrophic end by your reckless stupidity,’he said.

Smith had been giving the girls a lift home from a house party he was hosting while his parents were away.

Tests found traces of alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol, the main ingredient in cannabis, in Smith’s blood, but not enough to conclude he was under the influence at the time of the crash.

The court heard it was likely Smith, who had been driving around the area for hours when the crash happened at 6.45am, was suffering from fatigue.

In addition to the four-year term, Smith also received a two-year sentence and an eight-month sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving to two other teenagers in the car, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The three sentences will run concurrently.