South East Wales

Dean Collins guilty over Joseph Smith's crash death

Dean Collins Image copyright Wales News Service

The driver of a car involved in a head-on crash which killed his five-year-old stepson has been found guilty of causing his death by dangerous driving.

Joseph Smith was not in a booster seat and suffered multiple injuries when the car he was in smashed into oncoming traffic on Cardiff's Western Avenue.

Dean Collins, who denied all charges, was also found guilty of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The 24-year-old, from St Mellons was on trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption As Joseph Smith was not wearing a booster seat, it meant the seatbelt was across his neck

The trial heard Collins was driving a borrowed Ford Focus car carrying his partner Laura Bright, 23, her mother Michelle Holmes, Joseph, and the couple's two-year-old daughter.

The car crossed the central reservation on Western Avenue, hitting an oncoming white Seat Ibiza.

Witnesses said Collins' driving before the crash had been erratic, with the car weaving in and out of traffic and undertaking other vehicles.

Blood samples taken from Collins after the collision contained traces of cocaine.

But the quantity was too small to accurately measure and a toxicologist said it was not possible to say how the drug would have affected Collins' actions.

Image copyright Wales News Service

Collins, who had passed his driving test just three months before, said he had no memory of the crash and insisted it was a "tragic accident".

He also rejected the prosecution's claims that he did not want to remember what had happened because he did not want to accept he was at fault.

He told the jury Joseph was not sat in a booster seat - a legal requirement for children under 12 or those under 135cm (56in) - because he believed he was tall enough not to use one.

Four others suffered injuries in the crash, including fractures to the spine, arms, legs, ribs, memory loss and blindness in one eye.

Laura Bright, who was unconscious for five days after the crash, was cleared at a previous hearing of causing the death of a child in her care.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Eleri Rees QC, told Collins: "There can be only one sentence. One of imprisonment. The only question is length."

He will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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