An ‘out of control’ Rugby teenager who dangerously drove a stolen van at speeds of up to 70 mph has been locked up for four and a half years after killing his passenger.
Sentencing the boy - who can’t be named for legal reasons - Judge Alan Parker reacted angrily after hearing that he was out on bail at the time of the fatal crash which killed Rugby teenager Oliver Hawker.
Judge Parker said: “Whoever decided he should be granted bail on March 21 needs to search their conscience. Had he have been kept in custody Oliver would still be alive.”
It was heard at Warwick Crown Court on Friday that the defendant, who turned 16 this week, broke into a house in Lime Tree Avenue in Bilton on April 3, accompanied by a 13-year-old boy.
A laptop and keys for a van parked outside were stolen and the 16-year-old drove it away with the younger boy - later picking up Oliver.
A man who was sat in his car outside Costcutter in Bilton Road said the van came ‘flying’ into the parking area. He saw the boys laughing and thought the driver deliberately swerved to hit his car.
The van drove off on the wrong side of the road and minutes later crashed in Parkfield Road, Newbold.
Prosecuting Theresa Thorp said: “The defendant lost control of the van. He mounted the pavement, demolished a beacon, hit a tree and lamppost.
“The van dropped on its side before landing back on its wheels. Oliver fell out of the open window onto the road.”
Oliver was declared dead at the scene. The defendant, who was the only one wearing a seatbelt, climbed out of the van and ran away. He handed himself into Rugby Police Station three hours later.
Miss Thorp said Oliver had been annoyed at the way the van was being driven. The defendant asked him if he wanted to get out but he chose not to. It was said that Oliver and the 13-year-old boy had ‘egged’ him on to drive faster.
David Everett, defending, said: “He is very sorry for what has happened. He is absolutely devastated. He knows he’s been out of control and he is determined that this will change his life. He will never get involved in offending again.”
The boy has 34 previous convictions, including arson and robbery, and began offending when he was just ten years old.
At the time of the crash he had been arrested and released on bail three times for burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.
Judge Parker said: “No words uttered by me could possibly do justice to the pain and grief of those that love and mourn him. Oliver warned you. You paid heed to him only by your offer to stop and let him out. Sadly he decided not to do so.
“You making that offer to him only serves to demonstrate your intention to continue to drive aggressively and dangerously.”
Describing the van as a ‘deadly weapon’, Judge Parker added: “You were out of control.”
The boy was sentenced to four-and-a-half years detention for death by dangerous driving. He was disqualified from driving for four years but not given separate penalties to seven other charges he had also pleaded guilty to in relation to the crash.
The 13-year-old, who has already pleaded guilty to burglary and aggravated vehicle taking, is due to be sentenced on May 1.