Teen branded 'liar' as he walks free despite causing crash which killed friend
A teenager who caused a car crash which killed his friend was branded a liar and a killer as he walked free from court.
William Sherriff, 18, had taken his friends Luca Skivington, 17, Ollie Masters, 17, and Archie, 17, out for a drive in his new BMW sportscar, bought for him by his parents, just three days after passing his test.
He then lost control of the vehicle and didn’t brake or steer as it came off the carriageway and became airborne, before crashing into an electricity sub-station, Aylesbury Crown Court heard. Mr Skivington, a promising footballer, was killed instantly in the crash on August 6, 2019.
Mr Masters, a backseat passenger, suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the collision. He later took his own life, having previously said he was haunted by the image of Mr Skivington’s head injuries.
Judge Francis Sheridan sentenced Sherriff, of Flackwell Heath, Bucks, to six months in prison, suspended for two years. He also ordered the defendant to complete 80 hours unpaid work and 24 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and banned him from driving for two years.
During the sentencing, a woman shouted at Sherriff: ‘You’re a liar, you’re a coward and you’re a killer and that is all you will ever be’, before running out of the court. A man also shouted: ‘You got that wrong judge.’
Turning to Sherriff’s parents, he added: ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves, letting him drive that car. You have got blood on your hands.’
Sherriff’s parents were also criticised by the judge, as he told them that buying their son the BMW was the ‘crassest decision that any of us will ever witness’.
He went on: ‘Please, when your child passes their driving test, buy them a little, low-powered banger, putting it bluntly, rather than a high-powered super killer, if it is driven badly. That is a plea to all parents of sixth formers.
‘Let a message go out to all of the drivers – drive an old banger, where you are lucky if you can get it to 60mph if you put your foot down.’
The court heard how Sherriff had shown the group of boys his new car before they decided to head to Beaconsfield Rugby Club together. In a statement made by Mr Masters before his death, he described how the car was ‘picking up speed’ before Sherriff ‘misinterpreted the corner’ and the car was ‘hurled in the air’.
Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said Mr Skivington suffered an ‘extremely severe, non-survivable head injury’ in the crash ‘that would have resulted in instantaneous death’.
He told the court how officers found Sherriff at the scene shouting that he was the driver, screaming out Mr Skivington’s name and saying: ‘I can’t live with myself!’ He also ran to a bridge over the motorway and had to be restrained, Mr Stone said.
Mr Masters took his own life at home later that month, while his mother was waiting downstairs for him to join her to watch a film. Archie, the fourth passenger, has also suffered from PTSD, the court heard.
In a victim impact statement, Glenn Skivington, Mr Skivinton’s father, described facing the one-year anniversary of his ‘precious’ son’s death. Both he and his wife have also been diagnosed with PTSD and could not see their son’s face in the mortuary due to the severity of his injuries.
He said: ‘Imagine being told no other vehicle was involved and that the driver of the car had driven straight through a bend without attempting to turn. Imagine being told that the driver only passed his driving test a few days earlier and had been allowed to drive a powerful, three-year-old BMW.
‘Imagine trying to process the realisation that the crash was not an accident but a predictable, tragic outcome of some idiot showing off in a new car he was not capable of driving and should not have been allowed to drive.’
Explaining the decision to spare Sheriff jail, the judge said part of the reason was down to his mental health, having heard he had attempted to take his own life twice since the incident.
After the court session was interrupted, the judge ended the hearing and asked everyone to leave in silence as a mark of respect.
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