‘Showing off’ crash driver given community service

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George Eardley Cookson had been speeding near St Saviour’s School when he crashed into an oncoming vehicle, leaving three of his four passengers with broken bones and requiring hospital treatment.

The 18-year-old A-level student was also banned from driving for four years after admitting one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The passengers had all been at a party in the Maufant area and Cookson had agreed to give them a lift shortly before midnight on Friday 12 May last year.

Cookson, who the court was told had previously posted of his availability to give lifts on Facebook, was good friends and schoolmates with one of his passengers and knew the other three although he admitted ‘not well’. The court heard that Cookson had been driving his Ford Fiesta at around 55 mph despite being told by his passengers to slow down.

Crown Advocate Richard Pedley, prosecuting, said: ‘All four passengers describe the defendant driving too fast on the road from Midland Stores to Five Oaks.

‘In their statements they note that the wheels spun when setting off, the engine was being revved excessively and the car crossed the central dividing lines of the road on occasion.

‘One passenger felt the defendant was showing off. The passengers were put in fear and [two of the passengers] asked the defendant to slow down several times. He did not.’

He lost control and crashed into a silver Mercedes, the driver of which was not seriously injured.

Cookson and one of his passengers were also not seriously injured in the crash. However, one of the other boys had a broken arm, another a broken wrist and nose. A third suffered a broken leg, a dislocated shoulder and required a blood transfusion after developing anaemia post surgery.

Calling for a 264-hour community service order and a three-year ban, Crown Advocate Pedley told the court Cookson had only been driving for a few months and had ‘deliberately disregarded the safety of his passengers’.

Advocate Matthew Jowitt, defending, said Cookson was ‘wet behind the ears’ and an ‘unremarkable youth’ studying for his A-levels.

He told the court the teenager was hard working, had pleaded guilty at an early stage and had no other convictions.

Delivering the court’s sentence, the Bailiff Sir William Bailhache, presiding, said: ‘Your driving was extremely dangerous and has caused serious injuries to three passengers.

‘You are very lucky you didn’t have any serious injuries yourself. Your driving was completely irresponsible.

‘A motor vehicle is capable of causing death. It is in that context a potentially lethal instrument. You should know that at the age of 17, hopefully you know that now.’

Jurats Geoffrey Grime and Robert Christensen were sitting.

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