Uninsured drink-driver who killed three passengers jailed for nine years


An uninsured drink-driver who killed three of his four passengers by smashing an unroadworthy hatchback in to a tree and a wall has been jailed for nine years.

Jamie Riddick, who was almost double the legal alcohol limit, smoked a cigarette and tried to shift blame on to his victims minutes after crashing his Citroen Saxo, which had no MoT certificate and defective brakes.

Coventry Crown Court heard that Nathan Rhodes, 23, Ryan Case, 25, and 27-year-old Emily Jennings died almost instantly when the Saxo - an insurance write-off bought for just £375 - careered off the road on June 20 last year.

Riddick, of Park Piece, Kineton, Warwickshire, admitted three counts of causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the crash in Radford Road, Leamington Spa.

The pub worker, 21, had been drinking beer and vodka before offering to give Miss Jennings, Mr Rhodes, Mr Case and another man a lift outside a nightclub in the early hours.

After "cutting a corner" and hitting the tree, Riddick, who was saved by an airbag, told police he had not been behind the wheel.

Outlining the state of Riddick's car to Recorder Helen Mountfield QC, prosecutor Martin Butterworth said: "This, in the submission of the prosecution, is a case of multiple deaths which falls into the highest sentencing guidelines category for such offences.

"The car he was driving was in a terrible condition.

"Part of the element of dangerousness in this case is the condition of the vehicle on the night of the 20th."

Inquiries by vehicle examiners found that Riddick was driving the overloaded Saxo with an insecure battery, under-inflated tyres, and a brake drum which was so badly worn that metal was "grinding" against metal.

Before Riddick approached his victims as some of their friends got in to a taxi, he was seen on CCTV footage to be clearly unsteady on his feet.

Passing sentence, Recorder Mountfield accepted that Riddick had gone out drinking after a fight with his girlfriend which left her with a black eye.

The judge described the deaths as a tragedy and told Riddick: "Your car wasn't fit to be driven even if you hadn't been so intoxicated.

"Your car, which was an insurance write-off, had no MoT and it wasn't safe. The tyres were under-inflated and the brakes were badly and obviously defective.

"Because you had driven the car before, you knew that.

"My job is to sentence you according to the law and to try, so far as the law can, to find the appropriate punishment for these three serious offences."

Riddick, who showed no emotion in the dock as relatives of the victims read out personal impact statements, was banned from driving for 12 years.