Presenter admits killing two people by dangerous driving

Two die in Romford car crash
Police and emergency personnel in Squirrels Heath Road, in Romford, east London, in the aftermath of the crash (Yui Mok/PA)

A children's TV presenter is facing years in jail for killing two people in an eight-car pile-up.

Paul Ballard, 39, was accused of killing Eileen Haskell, 64, and Richard Trezise, 48, by his dangerous driving on February 20 last year.

The victims were pronounced dead following the collision involving defendant’s Volkswagen Golf in Squirrels Heath Road, Romford, Essex.

Ms Haskell was reportedly in her car, stationary at traffic lights, when the vehicle was hit at speed from behind.

The second victim was waiting at a bus stop when he was struck by a car, according to reports.

Ballard is often known by his nickname 'Des' and along with Fearne Cotton, presented the Saturday morning children's television programme Diggit from 1998 until 2002.

Paul Ballard, top left, is pictured next to Reggie Yates (centre) and Fearne Cotton (bottom right) before the trio starred on GMTV's children's programme Diggit from 1998 to 2002
Paul Ballard, top left, is pictured next to Reggie Yates (centre) and Fearne Cotton (bottom right) before the trio starred on GMTV's children's programme Diggit from 1998 to 2002

Emergency services had been called to the scene shortly after 1.15pm on February 20 last year.

London Fire Brigade had to cut a number of people free from their cars and six patients were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

During a hearing at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, Ballard admitted causing the deaths of Ms Haskell and Mr Trezise by his dangerous driving.

He denied two further charges of causing death by driving while uninsured.

Two die in Romford car crash
The scene of an eight-car crash in Squirrels Heath Road, in Romford (Yui Mok/PA)

The defendant, from Theydon Bois, in Essex, entered his pleas by video link from Belmarsh prison.

Prosecutor Edward Franklin said the guilty pleas were acceptable to the Crown and asked for the outstanding charges to lie on court file.

Rhys Rosser, defending, asked for seven days to finalise a basis of plea.

Ballard spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth before entering his pleas.

Judge Richard Marks QC adjourned sentencing until August 11.

The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years in prison.