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Dramatic footage shows moments leading up to fatal East Sussex car crash

Published 12/10/2015

Screen-grabbed image taken from footage issued by Sussex Police showing Michael Owen moments before a high-speed crash which killed him and driver Kyle Careford (Sussex Police/PA)
Screen-grabbed image taken from footage issued by Sussex Police showing Michael Owen moments before a high-speed crash which killed him and driver Kyle Careford (Sussex Police/PA)

A dramatic video showing the final moments before a high-speed crash which killed two young men has been released by their families to act as a warning to other young drivers.

Driver Kyle Careford, 20, and his friend Michael Owen, 21, both died instantly when the red Renault Clio they were in crashed into a church wall in Crowborough, East Sussex, in the early hours of Sunday, April 12, and overturned.

Mr Owen, who had a five-year-old daughter, had been videoing their journey as they sped at up to 90mph while high on drugs along country lanes, and the footage was shown at an inquest held into their deaths at Hastings last week.

The footage was found on his mobile phone near the scene of the crash.

Mr Owen's mother Kat said: "We bring our children up teaching them right from wrong. We guide them and give them our advice and hope they listen, but once they are adults we hope they make the right choices.

"I really don't know why the boys chose to do what they did, but I blame them both for the decisions they made on this night.

"If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video. I'm hoping it will have an impact on young people and make them see that a bit of fun can have such devastating consequences.

"I would like all the young people out there to take notice and realise that you are not invincible and take seriously how precious your lives are to yourselves and others. I want young drivers to consider how much devastation it causes to the families and loved ones that are left behind."

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "The inquest heard how the two friends, both from Royal Tunbridge Wells, but staying in Crowborough at the time, had both taken a cocktail of prescribed and illegal drugs that would have resulted in severe toxicity and have had a severely detrimental effect on Kyle's ability to control the car.

"This was compounded by his inexperience - he did not have a licence and was uninsured to drive the car, which was owned by Michael."

On the video, the pair can be seen and heard laughing, chatting and singing as Mr Owen appears to be giving Mr Careford a driving lesson as they pass through Rotherfield and on into Jarvis Brook where the accident happened.

The car, travelling in excess of the 30mph speed limit, careered off the B2100, smashing through a wall into the grounds of St Michael and All Saints church.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision on both men who had been wearing seat belts.

Zac Hemming, Mr Careford's brother, said: "This footage or anything of its kind should never be recorded, let alone watched.

"However, despite the pain of it being broadcast by the media, we as a family just hope and pray that this will connect with at least one person out there, young or old, so that no-one ever has to experience the unthinkable pain of losing someone so close and dearly loved."

Lauren Humble, Mr Owen's ex-partner, said: "This video was absolutely heartbreaking to watch but it did give us all of the answers that were needed. I know plenty of people who drive fast and I hope that this video will show people that driving like this can have devastating consequences and how short life can really be.

"The Michael we saw on that video was not the Michael that we knew who was a loving, caring responsible daddy. The legacy that Michael has left is our beautiful daughter Lily-Rose who is five years old, she will have to live with the impact of this horrific situation forever."

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas, from the Surrey and Sussex road policing unit, said: "As Kat and Zac have so poignantly expressed, if the release of this incredibly impactive footage results in lives saved, then it will be a valuable legacy of Michael and Kyle's sad deaths."

Screen-grabbed image taken from footage issued by Sussex Police showing driver Kyle Careford moments before a high-speed crash which killed him and passenger Michael Owen (Sussex Police/PA)
Screen-grabbed image taken from footage issued by Sussex Police showing driver Kyle Careford moments before a high-speed crash which killed him and passenger Michael Owen (Sussex Police/PA)

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