Gareth Swift: RL pal admits death crash guilt

A friend and former team-mate of tragic rugby league professional Gareth Swift was told prison is "inevitable" after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

Featherstone Rovers first team player Mr Swift, 19, died last April after a car driven by former Rovers reserve player Charles Tosh, 20, was involved in a horror crash between Normanton and Wakefield.

Tosh was critically ill and fought for life after suffering a catalogue of injuries, including a broken neck, leg, jaw and cheekbone.

Police waited until last November when he had recovered sufficiently to

be charged with causing Mr Swift's death by dangerous driving.

Tosh, of Chequerfield Drive, Pontefract, admitted the charge when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Friday.

Members of Mr Swift's family were in court for the brief hearing.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier, told Tosh: "You have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

"You will receive maximum credit for your early guilty plea, but a custodial sentence will be inevitable in this case." Judge Collier handed Tosh an interim driving ban as he adjourned sentence and freed him on bail until January 28 to allow time for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

Tosh was behind the wheel of a VW Polo which crashed into a tree before overturning on Black Road – known locally as Pineapple Hill – Heath Common, Wakefield, just before 11pm last April 24.

Rovers' first team and reserve squads attended Mr Swift's funeral at St John the Baptist Church in his home town of Normanton last May.

Rovers dedicated their season to Mr Swift, who was described by head coach Daryl Powell at the service as a "tough, strong and enthusiastic player."

As Tosh battled for life at Leeds General Infirmary, Mr Swift's mother told mourners at her son's funeral: "I would like to give Charlie get well wishes. Big hugs and kisses from me and our Gareth."

Last April LGI surgeons at fitted a cage to Mr Tosh's skull to keep his neck in place.

And they pinned a complex break to Mr Tosh's leg and re-set his broken jaw and cheekbone.

Daniel Bradley.

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