Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth pair jailed over Luke Fletcher Southwick crash death

Luke Fletcher Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Luke Fletcher was a performing arts student

Two cousins have been jailed for causing a fatal car crash through "idiotic" driving.

Passenger Luke Fletcher, 19, died when the car left the B2177 near Southwick, Hampshire in January 2016.

Zax Ross-Harris, 22, and Danny Ross-Barringer, 25, were jailed for eight and six years for causing death by dangerous driving and aiding and abetting respectively.

The court heard they had been driving at up to 100mph in bad weather.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard both drivers only had provisional licences. Ross-Harris, from Paulsgrove, had been driving the Nissan Almera in an "idiotic" manner on Portsdown Hill on 23 January.

Performing arts student Mr Fletcher, who was in the back seat, suffered an "unsurvivable" head injury when it left the road and hit a tree.

Another passenger, Sonny Wedge, suffered severe injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Andrew Houston, prosecuting, said Mr Wedge and Mr Fletcher had begged Ross-Harris to stop driving and pull over before the crash.

He said Ross-Harris "cowardly" ran away and denied being in the vehicle when questioned by police.

'Never good enough'

He later admitted causing death by dangerous driving and while driving unlicensed and uninsured and causing serious injury.

Mr Houston said Ross-Harris had drunk seven pints of lager earlier in the day but because he was not arrested until the day after, his alcohol level at the time of the crash was not known.

In a letter to Mr Fletcher's family, read to the court, Ross-Harris wrote: "My stupidity cost Luke's life, I know sorry will never be good enough."

He was also banned from driving for 14 years.

Ross-Barringer, also from Paulsgrove, admitted he had been "showing off" and said his cousin had been attempting to copy him.

Robert Grey, defending Ross-Barringer, said: "He is truly remorseful for what has happened."

Mr Fletcher's mother, Sarah Hiscutt said in a victim impact statement: "I wish it had been me; it has changed our lives for ever."

After sentencing she, described her son as "one of a kind".

"He was growing into a fine young man, full of life, dreams, ambition and a zest for life. He had everything to live for and wanted so much from life," she said.

Mr Fletcher had recorded a single, Heart of Stone, which was released after his death.

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