A young soldier who killed his teenage passenger when he lost control of a speeding car has been locked up by a judge.
A court heard that 17-year-old Kyle Denneny was over the drink-drive limit and had also taken Ecstasy and cocaine when he crashed his cousin’s Peugeot 106 into a bus shelter and a tree killing his friend Callum Brown.
Denneny, who is now 19, was on home leave from his army base when the crash happened in the early hours of April 4 last year as he drove the car along Burnley Road, Todmorden.
Denneny, of Orchan Road, Todmorden, admitted causing the death of the 18-year-old trainee barber by careless driving while over the prescribed limit and causing his death while uninsured, and was sentenced to three years in a young offenders’ institution.
Bradford Crown Court heard that the Peugeot must have been doing at least 44mph on the 30mph road when Denneny clipped the kerb twice and smashed into the bus shelter and tree.
Mr Brown, who had just obtained a placement with a leading barbers’ firm, died at the scene of the collision and Denneny suffered various injuries which meant he was in hospital for a week.
During the hearing prosecutor Heather Gilmore read from moving statements provided by Mr Brown’s mother Janet Flood and his older brother Michael Walsh in which they hit out at Denneny for his lack of remorse since the tragedy.
Mrs Flood highlighted social media postings of Denneny drinking and appearing to have a good time and said his behaviour had made their grief so much harder.
Mrs Flood, who has five other children, said her heart aches with a sadness beyond belief and her family would never be complete again.
Mr Walsh said the news of his brother’s death was like a surreal nightmare and added: “I never imagined in my worst nightmares I would be carrying my brother’s coffin just weeks after his 18th birthday.”
But Denneny’s lawyer David Ryan told Judge Jonathan Rose that the fatal collision had had an impact on his client and the teenager wanted him to publicly apologise to Mr Brown’s family for what happened that night.
Mr Ryan said Denneny would be losing his liberty for the first time in his life and his career as a soldier.
Judge Rose told Denneny that the incident should have served as a warning to him that he was unable to drive carefully and safely, but it was a warning he chose to deliberately ignore.
The court heard that Denneny had no recollection of the crash, but Judge Rose said he was satisfied that he was driving at a speed well in excess of the speed limit in dark and wet conditions which were hazardous even for an experienced driver.
Judge Rose said one could only hope that Mr Brown did not suffer greatly before he died and he stressed that the sentence for the offences was in no way a measure of his life nor could it reconcile his family to their loss. “It is without doubt that his friends, his family and all those who knew and loved him have been devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of a bright and caring young man,” he said.
Denneny will be banned from driving for the next five years and must take an extended driving test before driving on the roads again.