A12 crash driver pleads guilty

A DRUNK RAF man who killed five people when his car crashed head on with theirs on a Suffolk road will be jailed.Ben Morphey, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to five charges of causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink.

A DRUNK RAF man who killed five people when his car crashed head on with theirs on a Suffolk road will be jailed.

Ben Morphey, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to five charges of causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink.

The tragedy which happened on July 1 last year on the A12 at Blythburgh killed Jennifer Stoddart, Claire Stoddart, Carla Took, Simon Bonner and Kim Abbott.

Morphey, a 22-year-old airman based at RAF Wattisham's Regiment Four appeared in court in a black suit and tie and white shirt and spoke only to confirm his name and enter his guilty pleas.

Judge John Holt said: “It is inevitable there will be a custodial sentence.”

Simon Spence prosecuting said Morphey of High Street, Yoxford had been drinking at a club on the night in question but witnesses said he had stopped drinking quite early.

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However when he was tested for alcohol after the accident the amount left in his system revealed he must have consumed “a considerable amount” earlier on.

Mr Spence said the collision happened on a bend in the dark when Morphey had been driving at between 50 and 55 miles an hour according to experts.

He added that Morphey's car was driven on the wrong side of the road.

Morphey said that as he approached the bend car headlights coming towards him and a “momentary lapse” had added to the cause of the collision.

Mr Spence said: “That the deceased driver was in any way to blame is totally refuted by the Crown. She was on the proper side of the road. That is the expert evidence that the lights were dipped and she was on the right side of the road.”

He added that as Morphey had pleaded to these five counts it was not in the public interest to pursue the original five charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard that Morphey was of previous good character and a pre-sentence report was ordered.

Judge John Holt said a sentencing date would be fixed during the week beginning June 26. He said it was important that the families of the victims were able to attend court if they wished.

Although this court case was heard on Friday, June 1 an order was made postponing any publication of Morphey's pleas until today so the victims' families could be notified in advance.

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SUFFOLK witnessed an outpouring of grief after the crash at Blythburgh claimed the five lives.

Claire Stoddart, 18, and her sister Jennifer, 15, along with their friend Carla Took, 18, were travelling home to Lowestoft from a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Ipswich when the crash happened. Their friend Adam Cox escaped with a broken thumb and seatbelt injuries.

The group were in a Vauxhall Astra, driven by Miss Took, when it was in collision with a Renault Laguna at around 1am.

Two people in the Laguna, Kim Abbott, 41 and Simon Bonner, 40, both of Yoxford, also died in the collision.

Five families were left grieving and tributes from community leaders and friends poured in.

The tragedy inspired Dirty Pretty Things, the support act at the Ipswich concert, to join a national road safety campaign.

The band held a concert in London and dedicated songs to the three teenage girls.

Carl Barat, lead singer, said: “The deaths in Suffolk of Claire, Jennifer and Carla were so sad, such a waste of young lives.”

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