Teen accused of killing two motorcyclists in horrific crash insisted he 'is not a boy racer'

A TEENAGER accused of killing two motorcyclists by overtaking on a blind bend has insisted he ‘is not a boy racer’.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 6:22 pm
Joshua Kempster pictured at Portsmouth Crown Court. The teenage driver is on trial ,accused of causing the death of two motorcyclists. (220421-7042)

Joshua Kempster is facing two counts of causing death by dangerous driving after he allegedly attempted to overtake a car along 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, who were both riding their motorbikes when they slammed into the pile-up.

Today Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 19-year-old’s version of events as he took the dock for the first time, where it was revealed the teen passed his driving test on October 11, 2019 – just four months before the crash.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The jury heard how Kempster had been driving home with a friend in his £6,500 Ford Fiesta Zetec on the afternoon of the crash.

Barrister Nicholas Tucker, representing the defendant, asked: ‘It’s quite a sporty looking car did that appeal to you?’

‘No, I didn’t want that sort of car but it was a good price,’ Kempster said.

‘Some might say the car you were driving was a boy racer’s car… are you a boy racer?’

‘No,’ the teen told the court.

Jurors were told how the 19-year-old had a black box GPS system fitted in his car, that allowed his insurer – Direct Line – to monitor how safe his driving was.

Emails from the insurance firm to Kempster that were read in court said his policy was due to be renewed in May having notched up a ‘good’ driver score.

But the device was not working on the day of the crash, due to an ‘anomaly’.

Kempster added he had ‘not been in a rush’ when he crashed but insisted he was ‘distracted’ by a BMW being driven at speed behind him by Martin Gardener.

Mr Tucker said: ‘You drove carelessly because you had been distracted by the BMW behind you because you had looked in your mirror for too long. The prosecution say you pulled out to overtake on a blind bend. Did you?

‘No,’ said Kempster.

But prosecutor Ellie Fargin accused Kempster of ‘changing his story’ and trying to ‘deflect blame’ for his dangerous driving.

She added his car had been in third gear when it crashed, which she said showed he was attempting to overtake on the bend.

‘You were in a bit of a hurry that day,’ Ms Fargin added. ‘You were being a bit reckless. There was frankly no need to overtake other vehicles who were doing the speed limit was there?

‘You deliberately chose to overtake in a stupid location didn’t you? You showed no regard for people’s driving that day.’

‘No I didn’t’, he said.

The court also heard character statements from the defence, which included one from former magistrate Angela Trenchard, who is chairman of West Meon Parish Council.

She said she had known Kempster since he was eight and said he was a ‘kind, caring intelligent’ boy, who often helped his severely disabled neighbour with household chores.

‘During your time as a magistrate you will have no doubt dealt with many cases of bad driving. Did you ever see anything about Joshua Kempster driving that gave you reason to see him as a danger?’ Mr Tucker asked.

‘No, not at all...His driving has not been anything that has shocked me,’ she said.

(Proceeding)

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.