Teenagers used Leeds road as racing track before fatal car crash

The crash scene.
The crash scene.
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THREE teenagers have been locked up over the death of a young woman who was killed in a horror crash, as they used a road as a race track.

Natalie Geldard, 23, was killed in a head-on collision as she travelled home from a meal out with her boyfriend Johnny Harris and his parents Jillian and Mark.

Natalie was sat on the back seat holding hands with her partner at the time of the fatal impact and suffered devastating injuries. Mrs Harris also suffered life threatening injuries in the collision and Mr Harris was badly hurt.

Leeds Crown Court heard how their Kia Rio collided with Ford Focus being driven by a 16-year-old who had stolen the vehicle from his family home while his parents were away.

The youth, now aged 17, fled the wreckage of the collision, on Colton Lane, Colton, Leeds, and then “hatched” a plan in which he told police and his parents that their home had been broken into and the car had been stolen.

The youth, who cannot be named, was detained for three years and five months yesterday after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking involving a fatal accident and perverting the course of justice. Oliver Cowling, 18, was sent to a young offenders institution for six years and eight months after being found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. Cowling, of Ring Road, Cross Gates, had been racing the youngster in his Renault Clio at the time of the incident on the evening of October 28 2012. He was convicted after a two week retrial. Thomas Kay, 18, was sent to a young offenders’ institution for two-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to taking a vehicle involving a fatal accident. The court heard Kay, of Belle Vue Estate, Scholes, was a passenger in the 16-year-old’s car and had encouraged the race.

Prosecutor Mehran Nassiri read out an emotional statement on behalf of Johnny, in which he described his devastation at losing Natalie. The statment read: “Natalie was my soulmate, my best friend and the love of my life.

“I had everything in life to look forward to and we just wanted to share our lives together. I am not sure if my pain will ever be understood by those who killed Natalie. I hope they remember the pain they have inflicted for the rest of their lives.” Witnesses to the incident described the teenagers’ driving before the incident as “shocking”. Both vehicles drove on the wrong side of the road to keep the “racing line” and reached double the speed limit.

Lawyers for all three teenagers described how they were full of remorse for the devastation they had caused.

After the case, Sgt Carl Quinn, of West Yorkshire Police Major Collision Enquiry Team, said: “This case clearly illustrates the appallingly tragic consequences of young, inexperienced drivers treating public roads like their own racetrack.

“This incident has had a devastating effect upon the victim’s family and friends.

“We hope this case will serve to remind people, particularly young men, of the terrible and lasting consequences that their actions behind the wheel can have.”

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