Speeding Chadwell Heath teen jailed for crash that killed two students and brain damaged boy, 15

Harry Wood

Harry Wood - Credit: Archant

A speeding teenage driver, who killed two of his passengers and left a third with permanent brain damage, has been jailed for four -and-a-half years.

Harry Wood

Harry Wood - Credit: Archant

Joseph Andrews, 19, of Norbury Gardens, Chadwell Heath, must serve at least half his sentence.

Andrews admitted causing the deaths of Havering College students Harry Wood and Gregg Mint, both 17, by dangerous driving, and causing grievous bodily harm to Theo Cox, then 15, who cannot speak.

After sentence was passed in Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday there were angry scenes, with Harry and Gregg’s families being escorted from the room after shouting at Andrews’s supporters. Andrews spoke only to confirm his name.

Judge David Owen-Jones found Andrews was engaging in “competitive driving” with motorcyclist Jack Cox, Theo’s brother, as he approached a mini-roundabout in Crow Lane, Romford.

“Had you been concentrating on the road and not trying to outdo Jack Cox, you would have seen the roundabout sooner and reacted more appropriately, and the collision may not have occurred,” the judge told him. “Two young men in the prime of life with everything to live for died, and Theo Cox’s life is so transformed he cannot speak, but merely blink in response. He needs 24-hour care.”

Just before 8pm on May 21 last year Andrews was driving the youths and a teenage girl in a Renault Clio and approached the roundabout at about 53mph.

Most Read

He lost control and the car barrel-rolled in the air, demolishing a lamppost. Judge Owen-Jones rejected the defence case that Andrews, who passed his driving test six months before, had accelerated to ensure a safe distance between the car and motorbike.

The crime was aggravated as Andrews had allowed himself to become grossly, avoidably distracted by the motorbike.

Thomas Allen, defending, said Andrews had shown remorse, had been driving sensibly for the majority of the journey, and had known his victims.