Death crash teenager detained

AN 18-YEAR-OLD youth who lost control of his car and killed a 61-year-old Suffolk woman while “showing off” to his passengers has been locked up for 28 months.

Jane Hunt

AN 18-YEAR-OLD youth who lost control of his car and killed a 61-year-old Suffolk woman while “showing off” to his passengers has been locked up for 28 months.

James Sadler had just overtaken a car driven by one of his friends and was driving at a “greatly excessive” speed when his Vauxhall Astra spun 180 degrees before mounting a pavement in Victoria Road, Aldeburgh, and hitting pedestrian Carol Myhill as she walked home from work at a local hotel.

Mrs Myhill, who was pushing her bike, suffered serious head injuries and died despite the efforts of RNLI members who had been attending a first aid meeting nearby and rushed to the scene, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sadler, of Andrew Close, Leiston, admitted causing Mrs Myhill's death on February 25.

Sentencing him to 28 months detention in a young offenders' institution and banning him from driving for four years, Judge John Devaux said Sadler had been showing off to his passengers and was “solely responsible” for Mrs Myhill's death.

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He said Sadler had been driving at a “greatly excessive” speed in a 30mph limit and had carried out a “wholly unnecessary” overtaking manoeuvre on an approach to a bend.

“As a result you lost control of your car and struck Mrs Myhill and you killed her,” said the judge.

Sadler's friend Jake Strowger, 18, of Theberton, who had been driving the car that Sadler overtook in Victoria Road was also charged with causing Mrs Myhill's death by dangerous driving. He denied the offence and was found not guilty after a trial earlier this month.

Sentencing Sadler, Judge Devaux said that on the basis of his guilty plea and the jury's not guilty verdict in the case of Strowger he would not sentence Sadler on the basis that he had been driving competitively prior to the accident.

Members of Mrs Myhill's family were in court yesterday for the sentencing hearing but afterwards declined to comment.

However in a statement describing the impact Mrs Myhill's death had had on her family one of her daughters Vanessa Crane said: “We are a very close family and we all feel that we have lost a very close and dear friend. Mum's house seemed to be the place where we all used to congregate on special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays and the Aldeburgh Carnival and she was the link between the whole family.

“We have found the death of mum very difficult to come to terms with as it seems such a waste of a good, loving and caring person's life who gave so much and still had so much to give as a mother, daughter, sister and caring friend.”

Mrs Crane said her brother Justin, who went to the scene of the accident and saw paramedics trying to revive his mother at the roadside, had suffered sleep problems since the incident.

Mrs Crane, who also has two sisters Sharon and Mandy, said their grandmother had lived with their mother and following the accident she had had to move to Felixstowe to live with Mandy.

She said Mrs Myhill was also missed by her sister Diane Courlander and staff and guests at the Wentworth Hotel in Aldeburgh where she had worked for 22 years.

Greg Perrins, prosecuting, said that on the evening in question Sadler had been a passenger in Strowger's Fiat Bravo when it was stopped by police due to the loud noise from the exhaust and damage to the bodywork.

Strowger was advised to take the car home and not drive it further. However he ignored the advice and shortly before 11pm he and some friends decided to drive to Aldeburgh from Leiston to buy some food from a take-away, said Mr Perrins.

Sadler was dropped off so that he could he pick up his car and two friends also left Strowger's car to go with him.

Mr Perrins said that one of the passengers in Sadler's car later described Strowger and Sadler's driving as “very quick” and said Sadler had pulled out several times during the journey as if to overtake Strowger.

He also described Sadler driving round a roundabout on the approach to Aldeburgh two or three times with the tyres squealing.

Shortly after coming off the roundabout into Victoria Road Sadler had overtaken Strowger and had then lost control of his car, which had spun 180 degrees before mounting the pavement and travelling backwards along the pavement where it struck Mrs Myhill.

Mr Perrins said that following the collision Sadler had got out of the car and on realising he had hit someone said “Oh my God, I've ****** my life up. My life is over.”

Sadler told police officers who attended the scene that he had been driving too fast and later admitted he had been showing off.

Steven Dyble, for Sadler, said his client had contacted the emergency services and had stayed at the scene to speak to the police.

He had also pleaded guilty at an early stage of the proceedings and didn't have any previous convictions.

“He has made a catastrophic mistake and there is nothing he can do to bring her back, “said Mr Dyble.

He said Sadler felt genuine remorse for what he had done and knew he had to be punished.