A TOP police officer has praised the courage of grieving relatives after the deaths of two teenagers following a horror crash in Gosport.
Best friends Jasmine Allsop, 14, and Olivia Lewry, 16, were hit by a green Honda Civic driven by 20-year-old Samuel Etherington in Ann’s Hill Road.
Etherington, of Stoners Close, Gosport, had taken drugs and was travelling at 65mph in a 30mph speed limit zone in his modified car when the crash happened.
He was also driving in the wrong side of the road when the crash happened at about 4.15am on November 3.
Jasmine, who lived just yards away, died of multiple injuries at the scene.
Olivia was taken to hospital where she died later that morning.
Detective Superintendent Dick Pearson from Hampshire Major investigation Team said: ‘Samuel Etherington behaved with total disregard for the lives of two teenage girls in the night of November 3 last year.
‘His dangerous actions behind the wheel led to the deaths of Jasmine Allsop and Olivia Lewry - a tragedy for which Mr Etherington has admitted his guilt.
‘We’d like to thank the families of Jasmine and Olivia for their immense courage throughout this exceptionally traumatic case. Our thoughts remain with next-of-kin.
‘The community felt a deep sense of shock over the loss of two well-known, popular girls whose memories promoted profound expressions of grief from the public.
‘Police are grateful up many community leaders and organisations for their co-operation and support in helping people come to terms with the tragedy and pay their respects to Jasmine and Olivia.
‘Hampshire Constabulary would also like to recognise the diligence of the Crown Prosecution Service in bringing a complex case before the courts.’
As reported, Etherington was jailed for nine years after he admitted two counts of dangerous driving at Winchester Crown Court.
Etherington was banned from driving for seven years and must pass an extended retest before being allowed back behind the wheel.
He had denied two counts of manslaughter and the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to pursue those charges.