Driver jailed over death of teenager

Lucy Pinder
Lucy Pinder

A banned drug driver who caused the death of a popular teenager in a horror road crash near Flamingo Land has been jailed for more than six years.

David Manning, 28, was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs when he hurtled round a bend in a Mercedes C220 Saloon which overturned and crashed into a tree and a metal gate post.

David Manning

David Manning

Teenager Lucy Pinder, 19, one of three young passengers in the Mercedes, suffered fatal injuries in the crash at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, in June last year.

Manning, who was taken to hospital with head injuries, was arrested and charged with causing death by careless driving. As well as being uninsured, Manning was also a disqualified driver following a plethora of previous motoring offences.

He appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Monday after admitting causing death by careless driving while uninsured, unlicensed and one-and-a-half times over the prescribed limit.

Prosecutor Michael Morley said Manning and his young friends had been on a day trip to Flamingo Land and were driving back home when the tragedy occurred at 3.20pm on June 16.

He said a Flamingo Land car-park attendant saw Manning screeching off in the Mercedes. The steward said he had never seen anyone drive so fast out of the car park.

After leaving the site, Manning was driving so fast and erratically that one of the passengers, an 18-year-old woman, begged him to slow down, but she was ignored.

Not long after leaving Flamingo Land, Manning sped round a right-hand bend, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree and metal post.

Toxicology tests showed he had taken cocaine and had also been drinking before the terror ride in the North Yorkshire countryside which claimed the life of the attractive and vivacious teenager from Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees.

The court heard that Manning, of Thornaby, had 11 previous convictions for 21 offences including driving while disqualified and without insurance in June 2009. He also had previous for possessing cannabis and failing to comply with court orders.

He received his latest ban in November 2014, when he was convicted of driving while unfit through drugs, having no insurance, driving while disqualified and possessing cannabis. He was given a suspended prison sentence for those offences and banned from the roads for 18 months. The suspended sentence had just run out when he embarked on the ill-fated trip to Malton.

A poignant statement from Lucy’s father spoke of his daughter’s popularity and zest for life.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC condemned Manning for subjecting Lucy’s family to a lifetime of suffering.

“Her father outlined the vibrancy of her life and how they suffered when you took that life away,” said Mr Stubbs.

“What should have been a day of pleasure turned into tragedy and that is due to the criminal activity of you, David Manning.”

He blasted Manning for failing to heed his passengers’ repeated pleas to slow down, adding: “You were driving a car you shouldn’t have been in at all. You had no right to be behind the wheel.”

Mr Stubbs said Manning’s only mitigation was his remorse and the fact he had pleaded guilty.

Manning, dressed in a grey suit, white shirt and tie, showed no emotion as Mr Stubbs handed down a six-and-a-half-year jail sentence. He was also banned from driving for 13 years and three months.

Mr Stubbs told Lucy’s tearful family that “no sentence could possibly do justice to the loss, pain and sadness you have suffered”.