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Family’s anguish over death crash

Maxine and Christopher Ashworth with a picture of their daughter Elysia (below) who was killed in a car crash.

Maxine and Christopher Ashworth with a picture of their daughter Elysia (below) who was killed in a car crash.

  • by Julia Bennett
 

THE heartbroken mother of a teenager killed when her friend crashed her car into a tree today described the tragedy as “soul destroying”.

Naomi Jones, 19, was sentenced to six months in a young offenders institute yesterday after admitting causing the death of Elysia Ashworth, 17, from St Annes.

In court, her defence lawyer questioned: “What possible purpose can be served in a case like this to send a young girl to prison?”

But Maxine Ashworth, Elysia’s mum, told The Gazette: “We have got a life sentence. It’s soul destroying.

“As time goes by it doesn’t get any easier, it just gets worse.

“We are flatlining, we just exist.

“I can’t use words like I’m happy or glad because this doesn’t change the fact Elly has gone and she is never coming back.

“I will still wake up tomorrow and she isn’t here, I still have that empty, awful feeling.”

Naomi and Elysia were close friends from the age of 13, regularly had sleepovers at each other’s houses and Naomi had gone on holiday to Cyprus with Elysia’s family three years ago.

But both families were torn apart when Jones, of Carr Drive, Wesham, lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa on Division Lane, Marton, after hitting two bumps on the narrow, uneven road.

Elysia, a sixth form pupil at King Edward and Queen Mary School, who was a rear passenger in the car, suffered multiple injuries and died two days after the crash in Blackburn Hospital.

Another girl in the car, Ellen Richardson, also suffered serious injuries in the collision but is recovering and studying at university.

Jones broke her left arm and right ankle in the crash, requiring reconstructive surgery.

She had had to use a wheelchair for two months and undergo counselling and psychotherapy after she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mrs Ashworth, of Ulverston Crescent, said: “She (Naomi) didn’t take the opportunity to slow down, it is something that will haunt us forever and ever.

“Whether Naomi got 50 years or six months, she comes out and she gets on with her life. Elly will never be able to do that.”

Blackpool Sixth Form College student Jones admitted causing the death of Elysia by careless driving on the first day of her trial last month in which she was cleared of dangerous driving.

The teenager failed to negotiate a left-hand bend on Division Lane on the day of the crash on July 11 last year.

An accident investigator who examined the scene estimated the speed at point of impact with the tree at between 30mph and 35mph.

Judge Christopher Cornwall, at Preston Crown Court, said he accepted she was not racing but said “there may however have been an element of showing off to your friends in the car and those following”.

He added: “There was no evidence of braking only a desperate attempt to steer around the corner which failed.

“This is an accident that could have happened to only someone like you who was driving at a wholly unacceptable speed.

Michael Shorrock QC, defending, argued a suspended custodial sentence or a high community order could be imposed.

He said his client had to “live forever” with the knowledge she had killed her friend.

He added it was a lack of attention, probably momentary, which caused her to lose control but the judge rejected that view.

Mr Shorrock said: “She has expressed genuine remorse.

“This offence has had serious consequences as far as she is concerned.

“What possible purpose can be served in a case like this to send a young girl to prison?

“What she did could have happened to anyone.”

Jones was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to take an extended re-test.

 
 
 

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