BOWER BROTHERS: What the Sheffield pair did, what the prosecution case was and what the judge said

One year after two Sheffield brothers were jailed over a horror crash which left four people dead, here is a re-cap on how the case unfolded.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:39 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 12:00 pm

Elliott and Declan Bower, from Harborough Avenue, Manor, were jailed for a total of 19 years and four months between them after a crash in a stolen car which killed two men, a woman and a toddler in November 2018.

Elliott, now 20, was behind the wheel of a stolen Volkswagen Golf car when it crashed on Main Road, Darnall, during a police chase in which the car reached speeds of 100mph.

He was wanted by South Yorkshire Police at the time for breaching a suspended prison sentence imposed for a house burglary.

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L-R Declan and Elliot Bower leaving Sheffield Magistrates' Court (PIC: Tom Maddick/SWNS)

Declan, now 24, was described in court as having an ‘extensive criminal history’ for which he had served previous prison sentences.

He already had convictions for aggravated vehicle taking, attempted burglary, dangerous driving, driving without insurance, taking motor vehicles without consent, burglary and handling stolen goods.

They were both wanted by South Yorkshire Police over a number of offences, with Elliott wanted for questioning over a serious assault, failing to attend court and failing to have a drug assessment.

Declan was wanted over an attempted murder, serious assault and driving while disqualified.

L-R: Elliott and Declan Bower

Richard Wright, QC, who prosecuted the pair, told Sheffield Crown Court: “The defendants all knew that and they resolved not to surrender to custody.

“They were all determined not to be apprehended by officers and all had a clear interest in evading arrest by any available means.”

Referring to their time on the run, Mr Wright said the attitude of the Bowers towards authority was ‘encapsulated in a social media post’ they shared on Facebook a few days before the collision, where they were ‘grinning inanely at the camera as Elliot Bower held his middle finger aloft’.

They captioned their message ‘f*** da police’ in a ‘deliberate and gratuitous taunt,’ he said.

On the day of the fatal collision, on November 9, 2018, the Bower brothers were spotted in the stolen car on the Sheffield Parkway and a five-minute police pursuit was mounted.

During the chase, Elliott Bower ‘drove at speed on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend’.

Sheffield Crown Court was also told he drove the wrong way around a roundabout.

He was accused of driving ‘at massive speeds far in excess of 100mph’ while on the Parkway despite wet conditions.

At the time of the crash in Darnall, the average speed of the stolen car was 79mph in a 30mph zone.

The stolen car crashed into a Volkswagen Touran carrying seven people.

The family friends were just yards away from home after a trip to London when tragedy struck.

Prosecutor Mr Wright said that when the brothers were arrested, Elliott told officers he had not been the driver of the stolen car.

The killer driver said to arresting officers: “You can remand me if you like, I’ll get out and I’ll do bang the same thing again and you lot will have to chase me”.

He later pleaded guilty to four counts of causing death by dangerous driving and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Declan pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and possession of a blade.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, who jailed the brothers, said it was one of the worst examples of dangerous driving it had been his ‘misfortune to consider’.

He described the case as ‘both chilling and breathtaking in its horror’.

Sentencing the pair, he said: “You have visited a catastrophe of the highest magnitude on two families.”