Scarborough drug-driver jailed for killing friend

Christopher Backhouse
Christopher Backhouse

A Scarborough man had a "staggering" amount of drugs in his system when he caused the death of one of his friends in a car crash, police said.

Christopher Backhouse, 26, was found to have a toxic and potentially fatal level of MDMA in his system, which resulted in him providing a reading 130 times the drug driving limit.

Alex Baron

Alex Baron

On Monday 11 August 2014 Backhouse was driving his friends along a stretch of the A64 in his Renault Clio, when the car left the road and overturned into a ditch, killing his friend and passenger 22-year-old Alexander Baron.

Backhouse been sentenced to two years in prison and was given a three year ban from driving. He is the son of Scarborough councillor and former Mayor Andrew Backhouse.

The friends had spent the weekend at a music festival in Wiltshire where Backhouse consumed a large volume of illegal drugs. He then agreed to drive the 270 mile journey home to Scarborough with Alexander Baron and some other friends as his passengers, whilst still under the influence of the illegal substances.

At 3.30pm that day, North Yorkshire Police were alerted to reports of a car leaving the carriageway of the A64 near Tadcaster. Police attended and Backhouse’s car was found overturned in a ditch. Sadly Alexander Baron was pronounced dead at the scene.

Speaking about the sentence TC Zoe Billings who has been leading the investigation said:

"Backhouse had a duty of care as the driver of the car to get his passengers to their destination safely and securely. He was well aware of the concoction of drugs he had taken over the weekend. By agreeing to drive and be in control of the car, Backhouse gave no consideration to the safety of his friends and passengers and put their lives at risk. The gamble he made very sadly resulted in the death of a young man."

"The amount of drugs found in Backhouse’s system was simply staggering – the highest reading our force has ever seen. How he thought he was fit to drive is just beyond comprehension. To then agree to take passengers and put their lives at risk was just plain irresponsible and sadly had very tragic consequences."

"The length of sentence given to Backhouse should act as a warning to those who choose to take drugs and drive – North Yorkshire Police are equipped to detect drug drivers and remain committed to removing those that pose a threat to law abiding drivers from the roads."