Car death teenagers unlawfully killed - coroner

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TWO teenagers who died in a horrific car crash between Conisbrough and Doncaster were unlawfully killed, a court heard.

Antonia Browne and Tom Hughes died after getting into a car driven by their teenage pal Michael Gallagher - even though Michael was too young to drive and had been drinking alcohol.

Michael also died as a result of the crash, in which the car split in two after colliding with a tree on the A630 Sheffield Road.

Doncaster deputy coroner Fred Curtis recorded the unlawful killing verdict on Antonia, aged 14, of Pembroke Avenue, Balby, and Tom, 15, of Thealby Gardens, Bessacarr, Doncaster, after hearing driver Michael, 16, had taken his mother’s car from the drive at their home on Barrel Lane, Warmsworth, last January 30.

He said even not taking into account Michael’s age, his driving had fallen far below standards expected by a competent and careful driver, and the deaths were caused by his dangerous driving.

His verdict for Michael was accidental death. He said: “Looking at the situation as a whole - the scene of the worst damage I have seen during my time - it could be he was going at 80mph or more.”

The inquest heard Michael had called his step-cousin Tom to ask him to spend the night after his mother had gone out for the evening. Michael had been drinking, but his blood alcohol level was under the drink-drive limit.

Three teenage girls, including Antonia, were also at the house drinking, and one said the car was still parked outside the house at about 1am.

In a statement, Michael’s mother Isabella, who was not at the hearing, said she left the keys to her car at the house in case her son needed to move it down the drive to get his moped from the garage.

She also said he was an experienced go-karter who had off road experience of driving cars with his father, but was not allowed on roads.

The car was later spotted on CCTV cameras being driven along the A630.