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'Cocky' driver jailed after best friend killed in crash.

Byline: robert dalling Reporter echo.newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

THE mum of a man killed after being a passenger in a car driven by his best friend has said "her journey of hell will never end".

Joshua Roberts caused the death of his best pal Thomas Davies on January 17 last year after his dangerous, "cocky" driving in hazardous conditions caused the car to flip.

Swansea Crown Court heard Roberts, 25, drove his friends Mr Davies, 24, Lloyd Rees and Gethin Isaac to the Liberty Stadium to watch the Swans take on Wolverhampton in the FA Cup.

They left the Maesteg area at 5.30pm in a white Vauxhall Corsa, prosecutor Robin Rouch told the court. The group left just before the end of the match to avoid traffic, and on their way home decided to go to McDonald's in Briton Ferry.

On their way to the restaurant, Roberts' driving caused Mr Rees some concern, the court heard, as he was driving fast and braking suddenly. He drove close to parked cars and was swerving between lanes, the court heard.

Mr Rouch told the court Mr Rees described him as "cocky" in the way he was driving. When they left the restaurant, it had started to rain heavily, and Roberts' driving was still causing concern. Roberts knew he was breaking the speed limit and was asked to slow down, the court heard.

Mr Rees said he began to feel the car move to the left and the right sharply, and it began flipping, which was the last thing he remembered before he passed out. The car had crashed down an embankment at 10.53pm. Roberts called the emergency services, who helped extract the men from the vehicle.

Mr Rees was extracted from the car and put on a spinal board. His multiple injuries included splenic injuries, rib fracture, whiplash, bruises and lacerations. Mr Isaac experienced back pain but did not sustain any significant injuries. Mr Davies was unconscious and removed from the vehicle, and conveyed to hospital by ambulance. But, despite the best efforts of medical personnel, he was pronounced dead. He had been in cardiac arrest 40 minutes before his arrival at hospital, with the cause of his death being blunt injury to his head and face.

Roberts was arrested the next day and during interview accepted the B4282 was a road people could drive too fast on. He told officers he believed he lost control as a result of hitting water. His car slid into the opposite lane and into vegetation and a tree.

A crash data report from the Corsa showed an excess speed of 80mph an estimated two to five seconds before the collison. The road is a 40mph speed limit, the court heard.

A victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of Thomas' mum, Angela Gaylard, which, addressing Roberts, heard: "I want you to know you have destroyed the beautiful family I have worked all my life to create. I want you to see and feel the pain you have caused. It has been 18 months and I feel absolutely drained of life. Our journey of hell without Tom will never end."

Mitigating, Nicola Powell said: "There is nothing I can say that will take away from the frustration and disappointment that this family has for the actions of this defendant that night. This has not only taken away their son forever, but their son was taken away from them as a result of his best friend.

"Joshua Roberts knows that Tom's family are absolutely devastated by his actions that night and will be devastated long after this hearing has finished.

"He would want, through me, to say how sorry he is for his actions. He is absolutely devastated that this has happened to his best friend and their son.

"He also knows that they can never forgive him for what he has done. He understands that as he will never forgive himself."

Roberts, of Glan yr Afon, Cwmfelin, Maesteg, was sentenced to five years and four months' imprisonment for causing the death of Mr Davies by dangerous driving.

He has also been jailed for two years for causing serious injury through dangerous driving to Lloyd Rees, but that sentence will run concurrently.

He was disqualified from driving for five years, which will begin after his release from prison in two years and eight months, half the custodial sentence.

CAPTION(S):

Joshua Roberts

Thomas Davies

The scene of the crash on the B4282 just outside Bryn jonathan myers
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 13, 2019
Words:756
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