Teen accused of causing crash which killed two motorcyclists 'was being chased by another motorist'
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Joshua Kempster is facing two counts of causing death by dangerous driving after he allegedly attempted to overtake a car on a blind bend 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.
But today a jury sitting at Portsmouth Crown Court heard that minutes before the crash, 19-year-old Kempster was being followed at speed by Martin Gardener, in a high-performance BMW 3 Series.
Giving evidence today, Mr Gardener explained he accelerated towards Kempster after Kempster overtook him and three other motorists in a ‘frightening’ pass about two miles before the crash site.
Speaking from behind a screen, Mr Gardener said: ‘It frightened me a bit. I couldn’t figure out why somebody would overtake in a place like that. I thought: “My God, what are you doing”.’
He told the court his car was often mistaken for an unmarked police car and he hoped that by speeding up after Kempster’s Ford Fiesta, he might be able to get the teenager to ‘slow down’.
Admitting he sped up over the 40mph limit, Mr Gardener said he attempted to catch up to Kemptster’s vehicle, which had disappeared into the distance.
‘In my experience as I drive around people have a tendency to slow down in front of my car because it looks like an unmarked police car,’ he said.
‘My idea of slowing him down didn’t (work), it didn’t slow him down.
‘I lost eyesight of the vehicle… He was going faster than I was comfortable to go. I eased back.’
Mr Gardener then described the moment Kempster’s vehicle tried to overtake a Kia car on a blind bend, which led to the fatal crash.
‘He was overtaking on a bend and I was just screaming “No!”,’ he told the court.
But Nicholas Tucker, representing the defendant, accused Mr Gardener of being furious at having been overtaken by Kemptster and of then ‘tailgating’ the teenager up to the point the 19-year-old crashed.
‘Your decision to chase after the Fiesta I suggest was not a sensible one… your blood was up being overtaken,’ he said. ‘You didn't approve of the way this driver had overtaken and your response was not sensible but impetuous.
‘You didn’t slow up did you? You kept after it, right up to the point where the collision took place
‘You were driving right up behind, dangerously close to another vehicle. You were tailgating that vehicle right up to the bend to the degree the defendant looked back at the mirror and was alarmed by what he was seeing.’
Mr Gardener insisted he was not tailgating the accused and said both vehicles had slowed down prior to the crash.
But speaking of his decision to chase after the teenager, he said: ‘It is definitely not something I would do again... this is definitely not one of my smartest, cleverest things I have ever done.’
Kempster, of Church Lane, West Meon, denies two charges of causing death, having previously admitted two lesser charges of causing death by careless driving.