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Ferrari driver says car ‘took off uncontrollably’ in accident where boy, 13, died

Passenger Alexander Worth died after joining defendant Matthew Cobden for a ride in the vehicle.

The driver who crashed a £1.2 million Ferrari in an incident where a 13-year-old boy died has described how the car “took off uncontrollably” when he touched the accelerator pedal.

Matthew Cobden, 39, of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court where he denies causing the death by careless driving of Alexander Worth on August 22 2016.

The court has heard the defendant had offered the teenager a ride in the Ferrari F50 after Justin Smith, the partner of the boy’s mother, had asked for a photograph of it.

As the supercar drove down the farm access road in North Warnborough, Hampshire, where Cobden runs a car storage business, it hit a fence post and flipped in the air, throwing them out of the vehicle.

Describing the incident, Cobden told police: “Justin asked if Alexander could sit in the car for a photograph, I said I was going to run it up down the track, perhaps Alexander would like to join me for that. Justin said ‘Yes please’.

“Alex got into the car and was sitting on the right hand side. Neither of us had seat belts on because I had no intention of going at anything more than a very low speed and just along the track.

“I moved away very slowly and drove off the forecourt.”

I am certain that nothing I did caused the car to speed up in the way that it did Matthew Cobden

He said he drove no faster than the 10mph speed limit along the road.

He continued: “My best recollection is that at this point I was in second gear, I did not go above second gear at any stage during the short journey.

“As soon as I touched the accelerator the car took off uncontrollably.

“I do not know if the accelerator pedal jammed or what had happened but I am certain that nothing I did caused the car to speed up in the way that it did.

“I do not recall a collision in any detail, I think I heard a thud or clunk-type sound but my memory is not clear.

“The next thing I was aware of was being out of the car on the ground. I do not know if I lost consciousness during the incident.

“I looked around me and saw Alexander lying face down on the ground some distance away, back down the track.

“I went straight back to him, either walking or crawling, I cannot recall which.

“I turned him over and saw that he was unconscious. He appeared to have an injury to one of his arms. I was tapping his face to try and revive him and at the same time I shouted for help.”

Cobden said he suffered a fractured rib and a punctured lung in the crash.

The married father said he considered himself a “very experienced but always careful driver and someone who knows how to handle performance cars properly”.

He said his business stored 160 vehicles including a £22 million Ferrari Nart Spyder.

The defence argues that a “latent defect” led to the car over-accelerating.

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