Judge slams 18-year-old’s parents ‘crass’ decision to buy him BMW sports car that he crashed to cause friend’s death days after passing his driving test
- William Sherriff’s careless driving in Buckinghamshire killed Luca Skivington, 17 Judge slams crass parents
- Ollie Masters, 17, took his own life after he developed PTSD following the crash
- Judge criticised Sheriff’s parents for buying him a BMW as his first ever car
- He was given a six month suspended term for causing death by careless driving
A judge has slammed an 18-year-old’s parents ‘crass’ decision to buy him a BMW sports Judge slams crass parents car just days after he passed his test, as he is spared jail for causing the deaths of a promising footballer and their friend.
Inexperienced driver Oliver Sherriff did not slow down or steer his car as it approached a bend in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on August 6, last year, a court heard.
Talented footballer Luca Skivington, 17, was a front seat passenger and ‘bore the brunt,’ of the crash as Sheriff’s car it a grass verge and was sent flying through the air for 30 metres before it hit an electrical substation.
Ollie Masters, also 17, was said to be haunted by the images of Luca’s traumatic head injuries. He developed PTSD and took his own life in March this year.
Today Sheriff was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
One man who stormed out of the sentencing told Judge Frances Sheridan: ‘You’ve got that wrong.
Turning to Sheriff’s parents, he said: ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves, letting him drive that car. You have got blood on your hands.’
Oliver Sherriff caused the death of his friend Luca Skivington after he failed to slow down or steer at a corner in Beaconsfield last August. The 18-year-old’s parents were criticised in court by buying him a BMW sports car just days after he passed his driving test
Talented footballer Luca Skivington ‘bore the brunt,’ of the horrific crash in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, last August
Sherriff was told: ‘You’re a liar, you’re a coward and you’re a killer and that is all you will ever be,’ by a woman who stormed out of court as he was given a suspended sentence. Judge slams crass parents
The teenager was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted to causing the death of promising footballer Luca Skivington by careless driving.
Judge Francis Sheridan had criticised the decision of Sherriff’s parents in buying him a sports car – he had only passed his driving test three days before the death crash.
The judge said: ‘The buying of that BMW was the crassest decision that any of us will ever witness.
‘The defendant had only just passed his test and the decision to buy him a BMW 1.8, for a new driver of his age, was a crass one to put it mildly.’ Judge slams crass parents
Sherriff had only passed his test days before getting behind the wheel of the powerful BMW car and taking his three friends out for a test drive, the court heard.
While the other 17-year-old passengers were admiring the almost new vehicle, Sherriff slipped the car into sports mode and drove down a country lane on August 6 last year, a judge was told.
Ollie Masters was said to be ‘haunted’ by the image of Luca’s horrific head injury sustained in the crash and took his own life
Although keeping within the 60mph speed limit, Sherriff, who had passed his driving test on June 26 last year, did not brake or steer as his car slewed off the carriageway and became airborne before crashing into an electricity sub-station. Judge slams crass parents
Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said: ‘Luca had suffered an extremely severe, non-survivable head injury that would have resulted in instantaneous death.
‘The cause of the collision was because of the nature of the driving of the defendant. He has accepted that by way of his guilty plea.
‘The collision took place at the bottom end of Windsor End in Beaconsfield, Bucks. Luca was the front seat passenger and bore the brunt of the collision.’
When Thames Valley Police officers arrived at the scene, Sherriff was seen shouting that he was the driver, screaming out Luca’s name and saying: ‘I can’t live with myself.’
Mr Stone added: ‘He spoke to identify himself as the defendant, became visibly distressed, pulled off his tee-shirt and ran to a bridge over the M40 motorway. Officers became concerned he was going to do something silly and restrained him.’ Judge slams crass parents
In a statement to the police, survivor Ollie Masters had told how he had known Luca and the fourth passenger, Archie, for several years through football. They did not know Sherriff well.
Reading from the statement of Ollie, who was a backseat passenger and took his own life in March, Mr Stone said: ‘It was dark, no street lights, no-one was talking. They were all simply admiring the car. It felt like they were going quite fast, the car was picking up speed.
‘Ollie thinks the defendant misinterpreted the corner, certainly hit the grass mount and the car was hurled in the air.’
The court heard how Ollie had seen Luca suspended by his seat belt in the car, and Mr Stone said: ‘He said it was awful. He could not get the image of Luca out of his mind.’
A coroner in Beaconsfield later heard how Ollie had taken his life at home on March 15 this year, while his mother Dr Maureen Quigley, was waiting downstairs for him to join her to watch a film.
Judge Frances Sheridan told Sherriff’s parents: ‘The buying of that BMW was the crassest decision that any of us will ever witness’
Luca Skivington’s father Glenn criticised Sherriff after he was seen celebrating his 18th birthday just days after his initial plea hearing
In a victim impact statement, Glenn Skivington, Luca’s father said: ‘Imagine trying to process the realisation that the crash was not an accident but a predictable, tragic outcome of some idiot showing off in a new car he was not capable of driving and should not have been allowed to drive.’
The court heard how Luca’s parents, his mother – a former translator and his father a partner in a law firm with 20 years experience – both of whom also had been diagnosed with PTSD, had not been allowed to see his face in the mortuary, as his injury was so shocking. They simply held his hand to stay goodbye.
Mr Skivington added: ‘Imagine being told by your son’s friends that they have seen the driver on social media celebrating his 18th birthday, being told by a close family friend that they have seen him out clubbing, seeing with your own eyes numerous videos showing him with his shirt off in a party, enjoying himself, enjoying life.
‘Days after his plea hearing, when he purported to be upset, the driver and his girlfriend were posting pictures of themselves on holiday.
‘How could he publicly show he has no care or respect for his victim? How could he be so apparently sure that he will have to face no accountability?’
Sherriff was told he had avoided an immediate prison sentence in part due to his own mental health
The fourth passenger, who did not wish his impact statement to be read in court, had also developed PTSD, the prosecutor added.
Curly-haired Sherriff, who had no previous convictions and appeared in court wearing a pink and blue tie, looked distressed as he heard the details of his mitigation read out by defending lawyer Edward Butler in court.
Mr Butler said: ‘This young man has made two serious attempts on his life. First, an overdose of paracetamol days following the accident, leading to hospitalisation.’
Mr Butler added that his client, who he described as ‘a young man of real promise,’ had not driven since the incident and lost his employment working for a PR company.
Judge Sheridan, sentencing, told the court he would be sending his remarks to the leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, stating that a collision expert had told how the 60mph speed limit on the stretch of road where the crash happened was too high to safely take the bend.
Sherriff has not driven since the incident and lost his employment working for a PR company
Judge Sheridan said: ‘I do not regard, under the guidelines, this as a case of driving that caused two deaths, because that is a stretch too far.
‘The reality is that two decent young men had their lives snuffed out as a result of this awful incident.
‘The reason for this death is the inexperienced driving of a powerful car by an inexperienced driver. His driving was not aggressive, he was not on a mobile phone, he was not distracted or tired.
‘If it were not for this awful incident and the tragic consequences, people would no doubt be saying of him he is a good lad, employable and worth knowing.’
He ordered the defendant to complete 80 hours unpaid work and 24 rehabilitation activity requirement days. Sherriff was banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended retest.
Explaining the decision to spare Sheriff jail, the judge told him: ‘Part of the reason, let me tell you, is your own mental health.’