Jake Elshaw: Tragedy as Sheffield driver high on cannabis killed grandmother while speeding in Woodhouse
"I saw the car coming. There was nothing I could do"
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A Sheffield driver who killed a grandmother after gunning out of a 20mph zone at 43mph while high on cannabis has been jailed.
Jake Elshaw, of Twickenham Close, was showing off to his friends nearby on March 13, 2022, when he ploughed through the junction at Cross Street in Woodhouse at twice the speed limit in a black Saab he had bought just 10 days before.
But within two seconds of entering Tannery Street, he crashed full pelt into a black Qashqai coming the other direction - ending the life of grandmother Brenda Ellis while endangering the lives of a mother and her two little girls.
In a victim impact statement read out to Sheffield Crown Court heard on Tuesday (November 14), Brenda's daughter and the driver of the Qashqai, Samantha Draper, said: "I saw the car coming. There was nothing I could do.
"Mam and [my young daughter] started screaming. Then mum went quiet."
The court heard how an enormous effort by emergency services was mounted to help all five people caught in the wreck.
Ms Draper - in a statement read out by prosecutor Mr Ian Goldsack - told how every window smashed and how all the airbags in the Qashqai deployed. Her young daughter in the backseat was trapped, leading to her being rushed to Sheffield Children's Hospital where she stayed in a high-dependency unit with abdominal injuries for a week.
But nothing could be done to save the life of Brenda Ellis, who was in the back seat at the time and who died at the scene.
Ms Draper said: "My childhood was an amazing one because of my mam. She was a second mam to all my friends when they came over. We spoke every day and went out most days.
"She was starting to enjoy her retirement and her newfound friends, which was a joy to see.
"I cannot forget the screams I heard that day. It was the last sound I ever heard my mam make.
"I will never forget hearing my girls in so much pain and how there was nothing I could do."
Meanwhile, in the Saab, Elshaw was also extracted by emergency services.
Witnesses later told police how they had seen a group of young men "acting boisterously" in a nearby car park before the loud and modified Saab sped loudly away, came around a bend and ploughed through the junction at Cross Street without braking.
The then-29-year-old later lied to police about smoking cannabis that day, and also said he "didn't believe" he had been speeding.
Ms Draper said: "My mam was taken away by careless and selfish actions. Someone's actions took my mam's life and could have taken the lives of my girls.
"I have tried and have been unable to forgive him.
"We should have had more time. She should have had more time."
Elshaw pleaded guilty to causing both death and injury by dangerous driving at a hearing earlier this year.
Speaking in his defense, Mr Richard Adams said the 30-year-old "deeply regrets" the events of March 13, saying he claims he will "never forget" the moment he was told Brenda had died and he would "love dearly to turn back the clock."
Speaking in sentencing, Judge Jeremy Richardson KC saw fit to point out to Elshaw that since the date of the crash, the law in England had changed to upgrade the maximum sentence for death by dangerous driving to life imprisonment.
Instead, he sentenced Elshaw to six years and four months in prison, and banned him from driving for another six years.
"Had the law been as it now is, the sentence today would have been much longer," said Judge Richardson.
"This is a serious and shocking case... it truly was a terrible scene. And you caused it.
"I am prepared to accept your remorse is genuine. I do not doubt one bit that you have been affected by what you did.
"Your driving can only be described as deplorable... and you were substantially affected by cannabis.
"The family has suffered significant anguish because of your conduct.
"The sentence I pass upon you is no reflection of the value of the life of Brenda Ellis. She was a much-loved grandmother and mother and you extinguished her life."