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Young woman driver detained after crash which killed two friends

Published 08/12/2015

Ellie Clare who died who died in July last year
Ellie Clare who died who died in July last year

A young woman posted a picture of her new car with the caption "back in the game" on social media months after killing two friends in a crash, a court heard.

Jasmine Larder, 20, was sentenced to 15 months' detention after being convicted of two counts of causing death by careless driving on June 27 last year.

She had been driving four friends on the A39 in Farrington Gurney, Somerset, in her Volkswagen Polo when the vehicle hit a tree.

The car spun across the carriageway before hitting another tree - causing Larder's best friend Ellie Clare, 19, and George Stott, 21, fatal injuries.

Taunton Crown Court heard the two other passengers, Harry Rendell and Rebecca Chubb, suffered serious injuries in the crash.

Judge David Ticehurst rejected the suggestions that Larder was remorseful for her actions as he ordered her to serve 15 months in a young offender institute.

"You are 20 years old and you were convicted of causing the death by careless driving of two friends, one of them was your best friend," the judge told Larder.

"Another passenger suffered life-changing injuries. The impact of your careless driving is incalculable.

"You were interviewed by the police in September 2014.

"At the end of October you acquired a replacement car, equipped it with a lower suspension and arranged for the transfer of your personalised number plate.

"You celebrated that part with the following message on social media 'have new coils. So it begins. Back in the game'."

"That does not suggest someone who is racked with guilt at causing the deaths of two of your friends.

"It suggests someone who sees driving as a game or a sport."

He also disqualified Larder from driving for five years, telling her the length of the ban "reflects in part the driving on that evening".

The court heard there is no obvious explanation for the cause of the crash, as the car was roadworthy and no drink, drugs or excessive speed were involved.

This means the "only explanation" is Larder's car left the road, hit a tree, spun across the road and hit another tree because of her driving, the judge said.

Following the crash, Larder told one officer the car had spun out of control but insisted to another that the vehicle had skidded.

During her trial, Larder told the jury she could only remember that the car had veered to the right and she had tried to correct it.

Members of the victims' families wept and supported each other in the public gallery during the case.

"I recognise that for members of the families directly affected, any sentence I impose is not going to bring their children back," the judge said. "It is not going to be long enough."

Mr Rendell, Miss Clare's father Simon Clare and Mr Stott's mother Andrea Stott read victim impact statements to the court.

"I still dream about what happened at times and I wake up in a sweat and shaking," Mr Rendell said.

"Losing my friends. I just don't know what to say. It was just hell. No one should have to go through that."

Mr Clare, who lost a daughter to meningitis five years ago, described Ellie as his "best friend".

"My opinion of the driver has always been that she was a selfish person and she believed we were beneath her," he said.

"Her constant denial of responsibility and lack of remorse has been very emotional for me.

"It feels some days like that last 20 years of my life have been lost. I miss my Ellie."

Mr Clare said his daughter had "turned a corner" in the last six months of her life and was happy with her job, social life and had met Mr Stott.

Mr Stott's mother Andrea also wept as she described the impact of losing her son on the whole family.

"I have to find a way to get through the rest of my life without him," she said.

"He was a passenger in a car that left the road for a reason and that someone or something is responsible."

The court heard that, on a different occasion, Larder had written off another car while driving her Polo.

Derek Perry, representing Larder, said: " One moment she was driving with her friends with her life ahead of her and life will never be the same. The consequences have been devastating."

He said there was nothing to suggest anything would go wrong as Larder was driving before the crash.

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