A judge has criticized the blatant decision made by the parents of an 18-year-old to buy him a BMW sports car just a few days after passing the exam, as he was spared jail for causing the death of a promising soccer player and his friend.
Inexperienced driver William Sherriff did not slow down or steer his car as it approached a curve in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on August 6 last year, a court heard.
Talented soccer player Luca Skivington, 17, was a passenger in the front seat and "bore the brunt" of the accident when Sheriff's car hit a grass line and flew 30 meters in the air before hitting a substation.
The 17-year-old Ollie Masters is said to have been haunted by the pictures of Lucas traumatic head injuries. He developed PTSD and committed suicide in March of that year.
Today the sheriff was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.
One man who stormed out of the conviction told Judge Frances Sheridan, “You got it wrong.
He turned to the sheriff's parents and said, “You should be ashamed and let him drive the car. You have blood on your hands. & # 39;
William Sherriff caused the death of his friend Luca Skivington after failing to slow down or turn a corner in Beaconsfield last August. The 18-year-old's parents were criticized in court for buying him a BMW sports car a few days after passing his driving test
Talented footballer Luca Skivington took the brunt of the horrific crash in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, last August
Sherriff was told by a woman who stormed out of court when he was given a suspended sentence, "You are a liar, you are a coward, and you are a murderer and that's all you will ever be."
The teenager was sentenced to a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting that he caused the death of promising soccer player Luca Skivington from careless driving.
Judge Francis Sheridan had criticized Sherriff's parents' decision to buy him a sports car – he had only passed his driving test three days before the accident.
The judge said, “Buying this BMW was the most glaring decision any of us will ever see.
"The defendant had only just passed his test and the decision to buy him a BMW 1.8 for a new driver his age was a blatant one, to say the least."
Sherriff had only passed his test days before he got behind the wheel of the powerful BMW car and took his three friends for a test drive, the court heard.
While the other 17-year-old passengers admired the almost new vehicle, Sherriff put the car in sport mode and drove down a country road on August 6 last year, a judge was told.
Ollie Masters is said to have been "haunted" by the image of Lucas' terrible head injury, which he sustained in the crash and took his own life
Although Sherriff, who passed his driving test on June 26 last year, was within the speed limit, he did not brake or steer when his car pulled off the lane and blew up before hitting an electricity station.
Jonathan Stone, prosecutor, said, “Luca sustained an extremely serious, non-survivable head injury that would have resulted in immediate death.
& # 39; The cause of the collision was the way the defendant was driving. He accepted that by admitting guilt.
The collision took place at the lower end of Windsor End in Beaconsfield, Bucks. Luca was the passenger in the front seat and bore the brunt of the collision. & # 39;
When the Thames Valley police officers got to the scene, Sherriff was seen shouting he was the driver, yelling Luca's name and saying, "I can't live with myself."
Mr. Stone added: “He spoke to identify himself as a defendant, became visibly distressed, took off his shirt and ran to a bridge over the M40 motorway. The officers were worried that he would do something stupid and stopped him. «
In a statement to the police, the survivor told Ollie Masters how he had known Luca and the fourth passenger, Archie, through football for several years. You didn't know Sherriff well.
From the testimony of Ollie, who was a passenger in the back seat and who took his own life in March, Mr. Stone read: “It was dark, no street lights, no one spoke. They all just admired the car. It felt like they were going pretty fast, the car was picking up speed.
"Ollie thinks the defendant misinterpreted the corner, definitely hit the grass shed and the car was thrown into the air."
The court overheard Ollie seeing Luca hang by his seat belt in the car, and Mr. Stone said, “He said it was awful. He couldn't get the picture of Luca out of his head. & # 39;
A Beaconsfield coroner later heard how Ollie took his life at home on March 15 of that year while his mother was Dr. Maureen Quigley waited downstairs for him to join her to watch a movie.
Judge Frances Sheridan told Sherriff's parents, "Buying this BMW was the most glaring decision any of us will ever see."
Luca Skivington's father, Glenn, criticized Sherriff after celebrating his 18th birthday a few days after his first hearing
In a victim impact statement, Glenn Skivington, Luca's father said, “Imagine trying to process the realization that the accident wasn't an accident, but a predictable, tragic result of an idiot demonstrating in a new car, that he cannot and should not be allowed to drive. & # 39;
The court heard Luca's parents, his mother – a former translator, and his father's partner in a law firm with 20 years of experience – who had also been diagnosed with PTSD, were not allowed to see his face in the morgue when his injury was so shocking. They just held his hand to see goodbye.
Mr. Skivington added, “Imagine if you found out from your son's friends that they saw the driver celebrating his 18th birthday on social media and learned from a close family friend that they were seen him clubbing and seen with his own eyes numerous videos showing him taking off his shirt at a party, having fun, enjoying life.
“Days after his hearing, when he was allegedly upset, the driver and his girlfriend posted pictures of themselves while on vacation.
“How could he show publicly that he doesn't care or respect his victim? How could he be so sure that he would not have to face any accountability? & # 39;
Sherriff was told he had avoided immediate jail in part because of his own mental health
The fourth passenger, who didn't want his impact assessment read in court, also developed PTSD, the prosecutor added.
The curly-haired sherriff, who had no previous convictions and appeared in court wearing a pink and blue tie, looked distraught at hearing the details of his mitigation, which defending attorney Edward Butler read in court.
Mr. Butler said, “This young man has made two serious attempts in his life. First, a paracetamol overdose days after the accident, which resulted in hospitalization. & # 39;
Mr Butler added that his client, whom he described as "a promising young man", has not driven since the incident and lost his job with a public relations firm.
Sentenced Judge Sheridan told the court he would send his remarks to the chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council and stated that a collision expert had stated that the speed limit of 60 mph on the route where the accident happened to be too high to take that bend safely.
Sherriff has not driven since the incident and lost his job with a public relations firm
Judge Sheridan said, “I do not consider this under the guidelines a case of driving that caused two deaths because it is too far a distance.
“The reality is that two decent young men lost their lives as a result of this terrible incident.
& # 39; The reason for this death is the inexperienced driving a powerful car by an inexperienced driver. His driving wasn't aggressive, he wasn't on a cell phone, he wasn't distracted or tired.
"Without this horrific incident and tragic aftermath, people would undoubtedly say of him that he is a good boy, employable, and worth knowing."
He ordered the defendant to do 80 hours of unpaid work and 24 days for rehabilitation. Sherriff was banned from driving for two years and had to do a lengthy retest.
The judge explained to him the decision to spare the sheriff's prison: "Part of the reason, let me tell you, is your own mental health."