Death crash teen appeals sentence

Scene of the crash on Division Lane.
Scene of the crash on Division Lane.
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A TEENAGE driver put behind bars after causing the death of her friend in an horrific road crash will this week ask top judges to set her free.

Naomi Jones, 19, of Carr Lane, Wesham, was sentenced to six months in a young offenders’ institute in November at Preston Crown after admitting causing Elysia Ashworth’s death by careless driving.

Jones’ counsel, Michael Shorrock, appeared at London’s Appeal Court on Friday to argue her sentence was “manifestly excessive” and she should be freed immediately.

Mr Justice MacDuff refused to grant her immediate bail, but ordered that her sentence challenge be given top priority in busy court lists.

He said it should be heard this week, prior to the Christmas break.

Elysia, 17, from St Annes, died after Jones lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa on Division Lane, Marton, in July 2011.

Her heartbroken mother, Maxine Ashworth, from St Annes, has told The Gazette, Jones’ appeal “has caused some major distress”.

Jones was acquitted of the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving, but Judge Christopher Cornwall sent her to a young offenders’ institution, saying she had been driving “unacceptably fast” .

The teenage driver, who had passed her driving test only a few months before the accident, had hit two bumps in the road before the fatal collision, in which another friend, Ellen Richardson, was also seriously injured.

Judge Cornwall had told her: “The considerable jolt you experienced ought to have acted as a warning that your speed was unacceptably fast.

“There was no evidence of braking, only a desperate attempt to steer around the corner which failed.”