Man jailed for causing death of 13-year-old boy in Ferrari crash

The owner of a car storage business has been jailed for 18 months for "showing off" in a £1.2 million Ferrari, causing a 50mph crash which killed a 13-year-old boy.

Matthew Cobden, of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court for causing the death by careless driving of Alexander Worth.

He was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended retest.

Alexander Worth, who was killed in the crash (Hampshire Constabulary/PA)
Alexander Worth, who was killed in the crash (Hampshire Constabulary/PA)

The trial heard that the 39-year-old gave the youngster a ride in the Ferrari F50 at his business premises in North Warnborough, Hampshire, but the car "accelerated uncontrollably", hitting a fence post which launched it into the air, throwing the pair from the vehicle.

Judge Keith Cutler criticised Cobden for not making the boy wear a seatbelt.

He said: "Knowing that he had no seatbelt on, you drove far too fast, even demonstrating a lack of due care as you drove off from the concrete apron on to the road."

He continued: "You decided to put your foot down, the Ferrari was unnecessarily in second gear, it could have been in first gear, and you put your foot down in order to provide a thrill for Alexander.

"You were showing off, that is the explanation for the accident and its consequences.

"In accelerating such a powerful vehicle, you lost control of it.

"Your evidence was that while you were experienced in driving such cars, the surge of power took you by surprise."

The scene of the crash (Crown Prosecution Service)
The scene of the crash (Crown Prosecution Service)

He added: "Nothing that this court can do can bring Alexander back to his mother and father and his family.

"Nothing that I can do can properly reflect or compensate that loss of his young life."

Charles Gabb, prosecuting, said: "The parents wish it to be known they simply find it impossible to turn into words the level, the extent of grief they feel.

"Words on a piece of paper will not do justice, they feel, to the depth of their despair at Alexander's loss."

Robin Sellers, defending, said that his client had "exhibited significant remorse".

He added: "It's a harsh blow for him, of course the hardest thing is dealing with the death of Alexander, he wasn't a relative but Mr Cobden feels the trust put in him and as a father he understands that trust."

The court heard that Justin Smith, who supplied car batteries to Cobden, had brought his partner Arabella Worth, and her son, Alexander, to make a delivery on the day of the accident on August 22 2016.

Cobden, who blamed the crash on a "latent defect", offered to take Alexander for a ride after Mr Smith asked if they could take a photograph of the supercar.

The family of Alexander described him as "our very special boy", and said in a statement: "The outcome of this trial will not bring Alexander back but we hope the media coverage has in some way increased awareness of the fragility of life and the danger of driving powerful cars for however short a journey, and the necessity of adhering to all sensible safety measures."

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