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‘Man caused death of boy, 13, by careless driving of high-performance Ferrari’

Winchester Crown Court heard the £1.2m F50 is ‘the nearest you can get to a Formula One car on a public road’.

A 39-year-old man lost control of a high-performance Ferrari F50, causing it to crash and launch into the air, killing a 13-year-old boy, a court has heard.

Matthew Cobden, of Long Lodge Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court, accused of causing the death by careless driving of Alexander Worth in North Warnborough, Hampshire, on August 22 2016.

Thomas Wilkins, prosecuting, said that Cobden, who runs a storage business for classic cars, had been moving the £1.2 million Ferrari when he was approached by Justin Smith, the partner of Alexander’s mother, Arabella Worth, who was delivering a battery.

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Matthew Cobden lost control of the Ferrari (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

He asked for a photograph of the teenager with the Ferrari and the defendant offered to give the youngster a ride in the car.

They then drove off without seatbelts along the quiet farm road with good weather conditions and visibility, Mr Wilkins said.

He continued: “Alexander died when the defendant’s car drove off the right-hand side into a long fence post which launched the vehicle into the air, flipping it and turning it through 270 degrees.

“No other vehicle was involved and the prosecution say that the fatal incident was caused by a simple driver error – in other words, Mr Cobden’s driving fell below that required of a careful and competent driver.”

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Matthew Cobden court case

He added: “When asked afterwards how the incident happened, the defendant described that shortly before he had put his foot on the accelerator and the vehicle just took off uncontrollably.

“He doesn’t say he experienced any difficulties with the car prior to that point and there is ample evidence the car was in good working order earlier that day.”

Mr Wilkins said that one explanation for the accident was that the defendant did not realise that the left-hand drive car had “drifted” off the road.

“Another explanation is the defendant misjudged the formidable power of this iconic car, over-accelerated and lost control,” he said.

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Matthew Cobden court case

Mr Wilkins explained that the owner of the car had spent £50,000 servicing and refurbishing the vehicle with the intention of selling it.

He added that the car had earlier that day been taken for a photo shoot in Bruntingthorpe, Lincolnshire, ready for sale at auction.

He said journalist Richard Meaden drove it that morning and “he described the car as a fabulous example of the Ferrari F50”.

Mr Wilkins added: “His defence is that nothing he did caused the crash, rather it was due to some latent defect with the vehicle which caused it, without warning, to roar off and he was unable to control it or stop it in time.”

The defendant denies the charge.

Duncan Janaway, who owns the farm where the accident happened, said he saw the crashed car and went to assist.

He said he phoned 999 and gave CPR to Alexander until paramedics arrived.

He said the boy’s mother was also there and added: “She was extremely distraught.”

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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