Beds, Herts & Bucks

Teenage driver jailed for triple death crash

Jamie Burke
Image caption Jamie Burke, who was 17 at the time, suffered minor injuries in the crash

A teenage driver who killed three friends when he crashed into a lamp post has been jailed for three-and-a-half years at St Albans Crown Court.

Jamie Burke, crashed at Wiggenhall Road, Watford, on 21 August 2009.

Craig Charles, 18, and Conrad Ryan, 17, both of Aylesbury Road, and Jamal Campbell, 18, of North Circular Road, all in Neasden, died at the scene.

Burke, now 19, from Cambridge Close, Neasden pleaded guilty to three counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The court heard Conrad, who had been a front seat passenger, was thrown from the car.

All three teenagers were pronounced dead at the scene and none of them had been wearing seatbelts. Burke, who had passed his driving test 10 weeks before the crash, suffered minor injuries.

The court heard Burke was driving at an estimated 49mph in a 30mph area and there were three defective tyres on the car.

In a letter to Judge John Plumstead, Burke, who has been on suicide watch at Bedford jail, said: "Conrad, Craig and Jamal were my only friends in Neasden.

"I think about them everyday. I wish they were still with me. They were my life. When they died I wanted to take my life."

He added: "I should have made them put seat belts on. If I had done they might still be here today. I take full responsibility. I was the driver of the car."

Dora Belford, defending, said since the crash Burke had not been in a car.

Image caption From left, Jamal Campbell, Conrad Ryan and Craig Charles all died at the scene of the crash

She said: "The only contact he has is with his family and his girlfriend. His remorse is something I do not need to repeat."

Speaking to the parents of the boys who died the judge said: "No sentence I can pass can ever reflect the value of a human life."

Burke was also banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended test before getting his licence back.

In a joint family tribute statement the parents of the boys who died said: "No person could have asked for more caring and loving sons. Their untimely passing has left a an unimaginable void.

"It is important that young drivers consider their duty of care to their passengers and drive in a safe and sensible way at all times."

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