Teenage driver from West Meon who killed 2 bikers jailed after previously walking free from court

A TEENAGE driver who walked free from court after killing two bikers when all charges were dropped on a technicality has been jailed after being summoned back to court.

By Steve Deeks
Monday, 24th January 2022, 4:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 2:34 pm

Joshua Kempster was sentenced to 10 months detention over the deaths of motorcyclists Andrew Cuthbert, 58, and Gary Groves, 62, following a crash on the B3035 Corhampton Lane near Bishop's Waltham and Corhampton on February 2, 2020.

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It comes after the defendant was cleared of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial over the deaths last July.

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Joshua Kempster pictured at Portsmouth Crown Court. The teenage driver is on trial ,accused of causing the death of two motorcyclists. (220421-7042)

The 19-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by careless driving but as the prosecution did not accept his guilty pleas – instead arguing for the higher charge of dangerous driving – it was previously decided it was no longer valid.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard that as a result the court had ‘no option’ but to discharge him from the proceedings and let him walk free.

However, two charges of causing death by careless driving were subsequently put to Kempster, of Church Lane, West Meon.

On Monday Kempster admitted the offences and was sentenced.

The court heard how Kempster was driving home with a friend in his Ford Fiesta Zetec when tragedy struck.

The crash happened when the defendant looked in his rear view mirror too long after becoming distracted by a motorist driving up behind him, resulting in him pulling out on a bend after getting too close to a Kia in front before swerving back into the car, causing both vehicles to spin.

The Kia exploded in a fireball engulfing one rider while the other motorcyclist slammed into a fence with Mr Cuthbert and Mr Groves having no chance to avoid the crash.

Kempster had denied driving ‘dangerously’ in the £6,500 Fiesta and that he was a boy racer, instead arguing he had been distracted by a BMW 3 Series driving quickly behind him by Martin Gardener.

Judge Timothy Mousley QC said: ‘Two very good men have died and two families are devastated.

‘Barely a day goes by without them thinking them. No sentence I pass today will begin to compensate for the loss.’

Kenpster was also disqualified from driving for 35 months.

The Crown Prosecution Service previously launched a review of the case after Kempster walked free from court.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson previously said: ‘On February 2, 2020, Andrew Cuthbert and Gary Groves were involved in a road traffic collision which tragically led to their deaths.

‘Following complex legal argument, proceedings in this case have ended. The CPS is now reviewing the position in relation to this case.

‘We recognise that this is an extremely difficult and upsetting time for the families and friends of Andrew Cuthbert and Gary Groves, and our thoughts are with them at this traumatic time.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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