Samuel Etherington’s sentence is ‘disgusting’ says victim’s mum

TRAGIC STORY The Allsops' family friend Dave Palmer, Jasmine's mum Rosemary Allsop, her friend Caroline Pascall and Jasmine's boyfriend Zak Langford outside a previous court hearing.
TRAGIC STORY The Allsops' family friend Dave Palmer, Jasmine's mum Rosemary Allsop, her friend Caroline Pascall and Jasmine's boyfriend Zak Langford outside a previous court hearing.
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THE mother of a 14-year-old girl who died with her best friend after being hit by a car branded their killer’s sentence ‘disgusting’.

Samuel Etherington, 20, was jailed for nine years after admitting two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

VICTIMS Jasmine Allsop, pictured left, and Olivia Lewry.

VICTIMS Jasmine Allsop, pictured left, and Olivia Lewry.

He had taken drugs and was travelling at more than twice the 30mph speed limit when his souped-up green Honda Civic hit Jasmine Allsop, 14, and Olivia Lewry, 16.

Etherington was driving on the wrong side of the road when he hit the girls at about 65mph as they stood near the middle of the road with their arms around each other, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Jasmine, 14, who lived yards from where the crash happened at about 4.15am on November 3, near the junction of Ann’s Hill Road and Brougham Street, died at the scene.

Olivia, 16, was taken to hospital where she died.

JAILED Samuel Etherington

JAILED Samuel Etherington

After the hearing, Jasmine’s mum Rosemary, 37, who has a son, Reece, 16, and daughter Charlie, four, said: ‘It’s absolutely disgusting, for two lives. Nine years is just not enough.

‘I would have liked him to have the maximum of 14 years but doubled. He’s still going to be baby when he gets out. He’s still got the rest of his life to hang on to.

‘We’ve lost two beautiful girls. We’ve got a life sentence. My son’s left home because he feels that this is not a home any more. He can’t be on the scene of where his sister died.

‘I don’t want to stay here because it’s too many bad memories.

‘Once I’m in the house I don’t want to go out, and once out I don’t want to come back. It’s a constant reminder.’

Her turmoil has been made worse as her landlord has sold her home and she needs to move.

Jasmine’s boyfriend Zak Langford, 19, added: ‘He deserved a lot more than that. He’s taken two girls’ lives away.’

Unemployed sports coach Etherington, of Stoners Close, Gosport, who was unhurt, had denied two counts of manslaughter. The Crown Prosecution Service accepted his guilty plea to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC said the CPS had decided it was not in the public interest to pursue the manslaughter charges.

Etherington knew both girls, who were at a party at Jasmine’s house on the night of the crash.

He had taken a friend home in the area and was described by witnesses as ‘red lining’ – revving the engine of his Honda – which had lowered suspension and an exhaust designed to make it noisier.

Witnesses said Jasmine and Olivia had run into the road and shouted abuse at Etherington as he drove past towards a railway bridge.

The court heard the girls were standing in the road as he drove back towards them. A friend said he shouted at Jasmine and Olivia to get out of the road but they didn’t move.

Jasmine died instantly of multiple injuries and was flung to the junction of Clifton Street on impact.

Olivia was rendered unconscious. She was taken to hospital where she died of head injuries that morning.

A reconstruction of the crash suggested the girls were facing away from the railway bridge when the crash happened.

Prosecutor Mr Haggan QC said: ‘This defendant deliberately drove at the two girls, perhaps intending to frighten them because they had been shouting abuse at him when he had passed by in the opposite direction a short time before, or perhaps simply because he was showing off.

‘The defendant could have stopped before the collision had he chosen to do so. Instead he continued to accelerate, he drove at the girls, leaving it far too late to brake or swerve. The vehicle struck the girls at high speed, resulting in their tragic deaths.’

Etherington fled, later telling police he feared for his safety.

He drove to a nearby garage, called police and was arrested.

He later said he had been driving at 35mph but slowed to 30mph as he approached the girls.

However a black box fitted in his car for insurance purposes revealed he was driving at 61mph, sped up to 71mph and was travelling at about 65mph at the point of impact.

Tests revealed he had taken horse tranquiliser ketamine and mephedrone in the 24 hours before the crash. There is no evidence his drug consumption impaired his driving, the court heard.

Etherington also claimed Olivia had been playing ‘chicken’ and had run into the road, and that Jasmine had run over to her. The prosecution said that the girls had been standing together near the white line.

The court heard Etherington accepted ‘full responsibility’ and did not seek to blame the girls.

Mr Haggan said of the impact on Jasmine and Olivia’s families: ‘They have expressed a sense of loss and desolation that they and the other members of their families have felt every day of their lives since their daughters were killed.

‘They speak of their anger that this should have happened as a result of the senseless actions of this defendant, who in a few moments took away from them two lives so precious and irreplaceable.’

Oba Nsugbe QC, defending, said Etherington still has nightmares in which he sees one of his victims. He said: ‘He wishes that it was his life that was lost and not that of those two young girls.’

Etherington was banned from driving for seven years and must pass an extended driving test.

Judge Guy Boney QC said: ‘For you the sentence that has to be passed is a life-changing event. For your two victims it is worse than that. For them it was a life-ending event, their lives snuffed out.’

Olivia’s family thanked family, friends and work colleagues ‘for their support and continued support in coping through this difficult time’.

They thanked Olivia’s friends who organised a music festival with Motiv8 in memory of the pair, and police, paramedics, family liaison officers, and staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital where Olivia was taken.

The statement thanked Clare Cobb at Co-op funeral directors, Zodiac Florist and the Rev Andy Davis who conducted the service.

They said: ‘The help of all these people has been greatly appreciated and given a lot of comfort not only to what has happened but for the future.’