Court told driver's friend died at 100mph
A MOTORIST who was driving at high speed moments before a crash that killed a friend has been jailed.
Dad-of-three Leigh Sedgwick died when he ploughed his high-powered Subaru Impreza car into a lamp-post near the Asda roundabout on Bradford Road, Huddersfield, early on July 16, 2005.
Jason Allen, 27, of Central Avenue, Fartown, had been accused of racing Mr Sedgwick shortly before his friend lost control at speeds approaching 100mph.
But after a four-day trial in December a jury acquitted Allen of causing death by dangerous driving. But it found him guilty of the lesser charge of dangerous driving.
Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday that Allen had a previous conviction for the same offences, as well as a conviction for driving while disqualified.
Allen's barrister, Christopher Tehrani, urged Judge Roger Scott to suspended the sentence. He said his client wanted to settle down with his partner and their one-year-old daughter.
Mr Tehrani said Allen was hoping to complete a plumbing course and stressed that he was not a `thrill seeker'.
But Judge Scott said that the offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence was justified. He jailed Allen for eight months.
The judge added: "My view was and is that you were racing. But if you were racing you could not have been acquitted in my view of the offence of death by dangerous driving, so I work on the presumption that I'm wrong."
The trial was told that the pair had come across each other on Bradford Road and that Mr Sedgwick overtook Allen at speed.
Allen told police they were having "a bit of fun". The pair were later caught on CCTV driving fast shortly before the crash.
Allen, driving his souped-up Volkswagen Golf Gti, overtook Mr Sedgwick as they approached the roundabout.
The jury was told that Mr Sedgwick could have been doing close to 100mph as the lost control when he clipped a left-hand bend.
His Subaru was sent into a spin before it smashed into the lamp-post.
Mr Sedgwick was pronounced dead at the scene. Three of his passengers escaped with their lives and all refused to give statements to the police.
Throughout the trial Allen said he was in front of his friend and did not see the crash.
He told the jury he was not a boy racer although Judge Scott was told that he is due before Barnsley magistrates accused of drink- driving.
Judge Scott also banned Allen from driving for three years and told him that he would have to take an extended test in order to get his licence back.