Death crash driver sentenced to 8 years

A DRIVER who consumed “vast amounts of alcohol” before crashing into and killing a teenage friend has been locked away for eight years.

James Hore

A DRIVER who consumed “vast amounts of alcohol” before crashing into and killing a teenage friend has been locked away for eight years.

Ryan Ellmore, 20, was seen drinking beer, whisky, vodka and Cinzano before getting behind the wheel of a courtesy car and ploughing into popular 17-year-old Charlotte Blackburn as she walked home from a night out.

Ellmore, who also had traces of cannabis in his blood, fled the scene of the accident in Dovercourt but witnesses knew he was the driver and he was arrested at his home afterwards.

Tests later showed the 20-year-old had been doing about 58mph on the 30mph stretch of road when he crashed.

At Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday Charlotte's family and friends sat in tears as the horrific details of the accident in Main Road at about 1am on May 25 were read out.

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It emerged that Ellmore had been “completely out it” from drinking and had been thrown out of The Billy pub after getting into an argument shortly before the crash.

Samantha Leigh, prosecuting, told the court that Ellmore was a diabetic and was on Warfarin medication and had been expressly told by his doctor not to drink alcohol as it would put him at risk of haemorrhaging.

But the engineer lied and said he was no longer on the medication and spent time at a friend's house drinking before they went to the pub.

One witness described how Ellmore was “drinking anything he could get his hands on” and even had to be restrained by friends after getting into a row.

Miss Leigh said a friend had then driven Ellmore home in the defendant's Nissan courtesy car.

However, Ellmore then took the keys and drove the car back towards The Billy and was seen speeding and wheelspinning in the moments before the crash.

Charlotte was walking home with a friend, Josh, when Ellmore lost control, clipping the back of Josh's legs and colliding with Charlotte who was thrown through the air.

The car then smashed into a nearby house and Ellmore and his passenger ran off.

Desperate efforts were made to resuscitate Charlotte but her injuries were so severe nothing could be done to save her.

Ellmore returned to the scene of the accident with blood around his mouth and pleaded with witnesses “don't call the police” before fleeing a second time.

Miss Leigh said when police arrested Ellmore at his Dovercourt home he was “smelling heavily of liquor and his eyes were red and glazed”.

Ellmore told officers on the way to the station he did not realise he had hit Charlotte and thought he had just smashed into the house.

He made no comment during interviews and his blood alcohol results had to be back-calculated because of the time passed and the fact he drank a can of strong lager after the accident.

By the time that had been done, he was “just under” the legal limit.

John Caudle, mitigating, said: “His recollection of what took place is not there, it may be that the trauma of it has erased it…

“The mind can closedown and block off memories that are there somewhere.”

However, he said: “He is adamant that he did not realise he had hit anybody and what he did afterwards was blind panic.

“He is remorseful but is having difficulty in demonstrating it, he cannot articulate it.

“He accepts that there is nothing that I can say on his behalf which will in any way bring back the life that has been lost as a result of his actions that night.”

Judge Christopher Ball QC said prison was the “only way that the courts can reiterate the message that this sort of thing has to stop and discourage others from doing the same thing”.

He also banned Ellmore from driving for eight years and ordered him to take an extended test before he can get his licence back.

Ellmore, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving, showed no emotion as he was sentenced.

The court also heard how he had been banned from the roads for six months after an incident last March when he failed to provide a specimen - a matter which did not reach court until after the fatal accident.