Man killed student on 'video game-style' joyride

A joyrider who killed a student while "bulldozing" his way through traffic as he escaped from police has been jailed for nine-and-a-half years.

The driving of David Gaskell, 21, was described as being like something from a "video game" as he swerved to avoid oncoming cars and pedestrians, Liverpool Crown Court heard today.

Police tried to stop Gaskell, who was driving a stolen Audi QT car in Liverpool town centre at around 3.15am on November 27 last year.

The court was shown CCTV footage of police officers surrounding the car and attempting to smash the vehicle's windows with batons.

But Gaskell, from Everton, Liverpool, manoeuvred the car over a pavement, narrowly avoiding two pedestrians, and then drove at speeds of up to 50mph the wrong way up a one way street before colliding with student Andrew O'Neill, 20, in Dale Street.

Robert Jansen, prosecuting, told the court that in a subsequent police interview Gaskell's co-accused Lewis Gandy, 20, from Croxteth, admitted being in the car to go on a "joy ride" and described the drive along Liverpool's Dale Street as "something like a video game where you swerve to avoid oncoming objects".

Mr Jansen said the Audi hit a Hackney taxi before colliding with Mr O'Neill.

The taxi driver described the manner of driving by the Audi as "bulldozing its way through the traffic on Dale Street", said Mr Jansen.

After hitting Liverpool John Moores student Mr O'Neill, who was known to university pals as "Chubby", Gaskell drove off in a further bid to escape capture.

The court heard that Mr O'Neill's body was taken with the car for a distance of around 40 metres.

Gaskell then drove the car to a flyover where both he and Gandy exited

and tried to escape on foot after the vehicle's airbags had activated.

Gaskell, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving whilst disqualified, jumped off the flyover and fell a distance of 20ft to the ground.

He broke his leg and was arrested by police.

Sentencing Gaskell and Gandy, the Recorder of Liverpool Judge Henry Globe QC said: "In your interview Gandy, you described the events as like a video game, swerving and having to avoid oncoming cars whilst all the while your vision was impaired by the damage to the windscreen."

He told Gaskell: "In all, your case is almost as bad as any case could be. The only aggravating factor that doesn't apply to your case is the death of more than one person or injury to other people. That was an

element of good fortune rather than any other factor."

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