Death driver Samuel Etherington has his appeal dismissed

Samuel Etherington
Samuel Etherington
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Killer driver Samuel Etherington today had his appeal against a nine-year jail sentence dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

Etherington ploughed into Jasmine Allsop and Olivia Lewry at 65mph on a 30mph road in November last year. He was subsequently jailed for nine years after admitting two counts of death by dangerous driving.

Today, a relative of one of the girls expressed relief that the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence.

Speaking in the Royal Courts of Justice, Olivia’s uncle John Lewry, 60, of Petersfield said: ‘I am relieved for my brother, his family, Jasmine’s family and my children as well. There is no remorse from Etherington - it is pure self pity.’

Mr Lewry was in court to hear Sir Richard Henriques, one of three Court of Appeal judges hearing the case, say: ‘The original trial judge’s approach and the sentence cannot be faulted.’

The court heard a short submission from Etherington’s barrister Oba Nsugbe QC before the three judges briefly retired ahead of dismissing the appeal.

Mr Nsugbe argued the original crown court judge’s starting point of 12 years was too close to the 14-year maximum allowed for the charge of death by dangerous driving.

Mr Nsugbe said: ‘The judge appears to have started at the maximum of these offence and from there adjusted down to a sentence of 12 years and then given a discount of 25 per cent.

‘We submit that this is not a case... to start at the maximum.’

Mr Nsugbe told the court: ‘He was still a very young man. He was originally charged with manslaughter.

‘He offered pleas immediately to death by dangerous driving (in crown court).’

Mr Nsugbe added Etherington had good character references.

But this argument was dismissed by the appeal judges.

Sir Richard Henriques added: ‘In this case the appellant deliberately drove at the girls either to scare them or show off.’

Hampshire Police today welcomed the dismissal of Etherington’s appeal.

His bid to have the sentence reduced angered relatives and friends of the victims.

Speaking before today’s judgment, Jasmine’s mother Rose said: ‘Nine years wasn’t enough in the first place. If it gets reduced I will fight with every breath in me to get him more years.’

Etherington, from Stoners Close, Gosport, crashed into Ms Allsop’s daughter Jasmine, 14, and her best friend Olivia, 16, as he sped in Ann’s Hill Road, Gosport.

Ms Allsop has previously attacked the nine-year sentence handed down to Etherington in court in February, branding it ‘absolutely disgusting’.

At the time Judge Guy Boney QC said his crimes deserved a ‘severe sentence’ and gave him nine years, close to the 14-year maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving.

In February Judge Boney 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.’

Etherington denied two counts of manslaughter but pleaded guilty to two counts of death by dangerous driving.

The Crown Prosecution Service accepted this and said it was not in the public interest to pursue the manslaughter charge. Etherington, who had two previous motoring convictions, had been questioned over murder.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage asked for Etherington’s sentence to be reviewed as unduly lenient. This was rejected as he got a sentence close to the maximum.

Ms Dinenage said: I find it a little bit surprising. You would feel that rather than being defiant about it there would be a sense of remorse and determination to serve the time.’

Ms Allsop is suffering from sleepless nights over the hearing.

‘I’m just really angry. I’m not sleeping at night time tossing and turning thinking what the outcome could be,’ she said.

‘That’s not acceptable – he should stay in jail. His family can go and see him in prison. I can never see my daughter again. He’s basically got away with it – I’ve got a life sentence with no daughter.’

Ms Allsop lives with her son Reece, 16, and her other daughter Charlie, five, in Gosport.

Court of Appeal judges will decide if killer Samuel Etherington’s sentence will be reduced.

Anyone can appeal their sentence or conviction within 28 days of the conviction or sentence but must then be granted leave to appeal by a judge before receiving a full hearing.

Etherington is appealing his sentence and has been granted leave to appeal. The basis of his appeal is not known.

Criminal solicitor Amy Groves, from Swain and Co in Havant, said three judges at the Court of Appeal will decide if the sentence was ‘manifestly excessive’ or unlawful.

Ms Groves said: ‘They have to decide if it’s manifestly excessive. They take into account the sentencing remarks made by the judge in the crown court and have to consider the sentencing guidelines. They have to give reasons – if it’s something that they feel may be a bit harsh that’s not enough.

‘It’s unlawful if the guidelines say the range is up to a certain thing and (the crown court judge has) gone over that.’

Sentencing Etherington in Winchester Crown Court earlier this year, Judge Guy Boney QC took a starting point of 12 years after hearing mitigating factors. As Etherington pleaded guilty he could have received a third off, making it eight years. But Judge Boney reduced the sentence by a quarter to nine years.

Shockwaves from the killing of the two teenage girls in the early hours of a winter’s morning reverberated across the community and beyond.

Best friends Jasmine Allsop, then 14, and Olivia Lewry, 16, had their lives brutally cut short when Samuel Etherington crashed into them while speeding on Ann’s Hill Road in Gosport.

The 21-year-old, from Stoners Close, Gosport, had taken the horse tranquiliser ketamine and mephedrone in the 24 hours before the crash.

A black box recorder in his car – fitted for insurance purposes – revealed he was travelling at about 65mph when he hit the girls.

Etherington was driving on the wrong side of the road in his Honda Civic, which he had previously called ‘Rory the road racer.’

The girls had been at a party at Jasmine’s mother’s home in Ann’s Hill Road. Etherington knew both of the girls.

Witnesses said Jasmine and Oiliva had run into the road and shouted abuse at him while he drove past towards the railway bridge.

At the hearing in February, Winchester Crown Court heard the girls were standing near the middle of the road when Etherington was seen driving back towards them.

The pair had their arms around each other when the crash happened at about 4.15am.

Jasmine suffered multiple injuries and died instantly at the scene, while Olivia was rendered unconscious and taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham where she later died.

Dozens of flowers were left outside Jasmine’s home paying tribute to the pair.

Since the terrible crash friends of the girls in Gosport held a music tribute night and a fundraising memorial walk to raise cash for a memorial bench.