Teen, 19, was 'driving like an idiot' before causing horrific crash that killed two motorcyclists, Portsmouth Crown Court hears

A TEENAGER accused of killing two motorcyclists in a horrific winter crash was driving ‘like an idiot’ moments before the fatal smash, a court has heard.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:23 am

Joshua Kempster is facing two counts of causing death by dangerous driving following the devastating collision on the B3035 Corhampton Lane on February 2, 2020.

The tragedy claimed the lives of Andrew Cuthbert, 58, of Bishop’s Waltham, and Gary Groves, 62, of Southampton.

It is alleged Kempster crashed his Ford Fiesta while ‘dangerously’ overtaking on a blind bend, causing a pile-up which led to the death of the two bikers.

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Andrew Cuthbert, left, and Gary Groves. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Opening the trial at Portsmouth Crown Court, prosecutor Ellie Fargin told jurors how 19-year-old Kempster, of Church Lane, West Meon, had charged past four cars in a single go just minutes before the deadly crash.

In a brief summary of one of the drivers overtaken, Martin Gardener, Ms Fargin told the court: ‘As the road then began to veer to the right, the Fiesta began to overtake the Kia in front of him. [Mr Gardener] screamed out words to the effect, “please God, don’t do it”. He knew the overtake was simply not there.’

Attempting to dodge the bikers, Ms Fargin told the court how Kempster moved ‘sharply to the left’ crashing into the Kia, causing both vehicles to spin.

Mr Cuthbert and Mr Groves had no time to avoid the crash, which caused the Kia to explode into a fireball, engulfing one rider while the other motorcyclist slammed into a fence.

Both of the men suffered catastrophic head, chest, pelvis and lower limbs injuries and died at the scene.

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Retired Thames Valley Police Sergeant Robin Athawes was one of the first people at the scene.

Just minutes earlier he had been overtaken by Kempster close to the junction on Langton Road, in Bishop’s Waltham. It was a pass which stunned him.

‘I said “you idiot” out loud to myself in the car. I was quite alarmed that he was overtaking where he was and at the speed he was,’ he told the court.

Defending, Nicholas Tucker said Kempster had previously admitted to two lesser charges of causing death by careless driving.

He insisted that when the fatal collision occurred, his client had been distracted by another car approaching rapidly from behind

‘Mr Kempter looked in his rear view mirror too long,’ he told jurors. ‘He realised he was about to collide with the back of the vehicle in front.

‘He instinctively fought right to avoid collision and in doing so ended up on the wrong side of the road. He was unable to pull back in to try and avoid colliding with the first motorbike.’

Ms Fargin disputed the claim and said the teen’s driving skills fell ‘far below the standard accepted of a careful and competent driver’.

‘His driving demonstrated a total disregard for the safety of other road users.’ she said.

Kempster denies two counts of causing death by dangerous driving. The case continues.

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