Crash teenager loses appeal bid

Naomi Jones

Naomi Jones

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A TEENAGER whose best friend died when she crashed her car into a tree after “showing off” has lost her appeal against her jail sentence.

Naomi Jones had passed her test just four months before the horrific crash, in which 17-year-old Elysia Ashworth suffered fatal injuries.

The 19-year-old, of Carr Drive, Wesham, was jailed for six months at Preston Crown Court in November, after she admitted causing death by careless driving.

She challenged her sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with her lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’.

But three of the country’s most senior judges have refused to alter the term, saying it was ‘not excessive’ in all the circumstances.

Elysia’s mother Maxine today welcomed the decision.

She said: “I can’t say I’m not pleased. We’ve had a very unpleasant last couple of weeks with having to deal with all this again.

“She did well to receive such a minimal sentence as it was, but we’re thankful and we’re grateful that the justice system has seen that an appeal wasn’t fitting in this case.”

The court heard the crash happened on July 11 last year, when Jones was driving her Vauxhall Corsa along Division Lane, Marton.

She was later cleared of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving but the crown court judge who sentenced her concluded it was “not far short of dangerous” and said there may have been an “element of showing off”.

Jones’ lawyers argued her sentence was over the top, saying the crown court judge wrongly overstated the standard of Jones’ driving.

They also argued he did not take enough account of her relative inexperience, her physical injuries, or the fact she will have to live with the burden of knowing she had caused her friend’s death.

But, dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Simon said the judge was in a strong position to assess Jones’ driving, as he had presided over the trial.

Sitting with Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Hamblen, he added: “On any view, this piece of careless driving has devastated the lives of two young women and ended the life of a third.”