On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Ed & Gemma 6am - 10am
27 January 2016, 17:25
A man who was twice the drink drive limit when his car crashed in Leamington Spa killing three people has been jailed for 9 years.
21-year-old Jamie Riddick's car hit a wall and a tree and killing the passengers instantly last June.
He's admitted three counts of causing deaths of 23-year-old Nathan Rhodes, 25-year-old Ryan Case and27-year-old Emily Jennings by dangerous driving.
The passengers died almost instantly. Riddick was saved by his airbag and tried to claim to police he hadn't been driving after the crash.
The court heard he had been out drinking in Leamington Spa after a fight with his girlfriend which had left her with a black eye.
His Citroen Saxo was an insurance write-off he'd bought for £375.
Outlining the state of Riddick's car to Recorder Helen Mountfield QC, prosecutor Martin Butterworth said: "This, in the submission of the prosecution, is a case of multiple deaths which falls into the highest sentencing guidelines category for such offences.
"The car he was driving was in a terrible condition.
"Part of the element of dangerousness in this case is the condition of the vehicle on the night of the 20th.''
Inquiries by vehicle examiners found that Riddick was driving the overloaded Saxo with an insecure battery, under-inflated tyres, and a brake drum which was so badly worn that metal was "grinding" against metal.
Before Riddick approached his victims as some of their friends got in to a taxi, he was seen on CCTV footage to be clearly unsteady on his feet.
Passing sentence, Recorder Mountfield accepted that Riddick had gone out drinking after a fight with his girlfriend which left her with a black eye.
The judge described the deaths as a tragedy and told Riddick: "Your car wasn't fit to be driven even if you hadn't been so intoxicated.
"Your car, which was an insurance write-off, had no MoT and it wasn't safe. The tyres were under-inflated and the brakes were badly and obviously defective.
"Because you had driven the car before, you knew that.
"My job is to sentence you according to the law and to try, so far as the law can, to find the appropriate punishment for these three serious offences.''
Riddick, who showed no emotion in the dock as relatives of the victims read out personal impact statements, was banned from driving for 12 years.