Shropshire

Market Drayton driver who killed friend is jailed

A529 leaving Market Drayton Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption Judges said there was a "substantial risk" to road users, caused by Whilde's driving

A speeding driver who killed his best friend has been jailed by the Court of Appeal.

Stephen Whilde lost control of his modified car as he drove at nearly 80mph around a bend on the A529 between Audlem and Market Drayton in November 2016.

The car left the road and hit a fence, killing 24-year-old passenger Will Bye.

Senior judges ruled Whilde's suspended sentence was "unduly lenient", handing him a three-year term.

The bin-lorry driver, also 24, of Newcastle Road in Market Drayton, had previously admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

He was handed a two-year suspended sentence and a five-year driving ban at Shrewsbury Crown Court in October last year.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC, however, argued the crown court judge was wrong to spare him jail.

Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Garnham and Judge Wendy Joseph QC, told the court Mr Bye was filming the journey on his mobile phone at the time of the crash.

From the eight seconds of footage available, experts were able to calculate Whilde was driving at about 79mph as he took the bend on the 60mph limit road.

Genuine remorse

Duncan Atkinson QC, for Mr Buckland, said the driving was a "display of bravado and showing off".

Lady Justice Sharp said Whilde was full of "heartfelt and genuine remorse" at the death of his friend.

Jailing him, she added: "In our view, the sentence was unduly lenient.

"There was an obvious and substantial risk of danger to his passenger and to other road users."

Whilde also had his driving ban reduced to four and a half years. He was ordered to hand himself in at Shrewsbury Police Station to begin his sentence.

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