Dagenham family’s grief as killer driver faces court
- Credit: Archant
The family of a teenager killed after his friend crashed a car into a lamppost have spoken of their grief.
Charlie Gunner, from Dagenham, was 18 when he died on August 27 last year from the collision in St Mark’s Place, Dagenham.
The driver, Elliott Antwi, 20, of Mayfield Road, Dagenham, fled the scene and went on the run for the next few weeks until he returned home on September 20 and was arrested.
Antwi has been charged with death by dangerous driving and pleaded guilty on February 4.
At Snaresbrook Crown Court today (8) the defendant sobbed as the prosecution read a statement by Charlie’s family as sentencing in the case started.
It said: “We are finding it very hard to come to terms with his death. When we were told and we rushed over to the crash scene we couldn’t believe what we saw. We were hoping and praying he would be okay.
“We had to see him being cut out of the car. We get flashbacks every day to what we saw. When we got to the hospital and we were told he had died we couldn’t believe it. We go to the cemetery every week but find it very heartbreaking. He will never be forgotten.”
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The court heard that on August 27 last year the defendant was driving his Audi A3 with three friends; Charlie, Jack Reilly, then 16, and his brother Derek Antwi, then 19.
While they were parked in a side street they were passed by a police car which was on its way to investigate a burglary.
The court heard how Antwi, believing the police were after them, panicked and tried to drive off.
After grappling with the gears he sped off but misjudged a turn, ramming the car onto the pavement and into a lamp post.
Antwi and his brother escaped unhurt but Charlie and Jack were taken to hospital with severe head injuries, where Charlie died later that day.
Jack also suffered severe brain injuries and has had to relearn how to walk and talk.
His mum Ann-Marie Shinkwin said he was still receiving treatment and a full recovery was uncertain.
Antwi had been disqualified from driving since the age of 14 and was driving with no insurance.
When interviewed by police the defendant said he had only ever received seven driving lessons and did not think he could pass a driving test, the prosecution said.
The court was adjourned while Judge Martyn Zeidman QC requests background evidence on Antwi’s previous convictions.