Michael Partington drove 'like a madman' before fatal crash

Michael Partington
Image caption Partington ignored pleas for him to slow down

A teenager who killed his girlfriend by driving "like a madman" on a country lane was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in youth detention.

Michael Partington, 19, was "angry and aggressive" driving up to 70mph on the unadopted road in Greater Manchester, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Front seat passenger Annie Cochrane, 14, was killed in the crash, in the village of Haigh last February.

Partington had admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The motor mechanic from Westhougton, near Bolton, was also banned from driving for seven-and-a-half years.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, said Partington's relationship with Annie was secret because the girl's father was unhappy about their age difference.

He also had a partner who was closer his own age and is now expecting his first child, the hearing was told.

Partington, who was with two friends, had collected Annie and her friend on the night of 12 February.

Image caption Annie Cochrane: Suffered multiple head injuries

He had earlier fallen out with his brother in a dispute over money for drugs, the court heard.

After stopping for a pizza he sped off down a long and winding lane with the car stereo on maximum volume.

The passengers desperately tried to get Partington to slow down and stop as he drove faster along the unadopted road, which has a 25mph advisory speed limit.

Mr Barr added: "The passengers could feel themselves rise off their seats as he hit a speed bump.

"He lost control and crashed through a grass verge and struck a tree."

'Devastated family'

A post-mortem examination found that Annie had suffered multiple head injuries.

Passing sentence, Judge Brown told the defendant: "It is apparent that you drove like a madman at very fast speed and completely ignored the warnings of your passengers.

"Had you not been driving this way, Annie Cochrane would be alive today.

"Her death has had a devastating effect on her family."

The judge said Mr Cochrane, a single parent, was in a "never-ending nightmare".

"His world fell apart. He had a minor heart attack. He says she was not just a daughter but his best friend," the judge said.

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