Bridport: Court told of tragic teenager Tash Samway's last moments following coast road crash (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Bridport: Court told of tragic teenager Tash Samway's last moments following coast road crash
10:26am Wednesday 2nd May 2012 in Bridport
THE last moments of Bridport teenager Tash Samways’ young life were re-lived in court after her death in an early hours smash on the coast road.
Jurors heard of the 17-year-old’s final minutes when the BMW 320i coupe she was a passenger in crashed and flipped over on the B3157 just before 1am on January 20 last year. Police said that the car span, rolled and cartwheeled before coming to a halt 140 metres down the road near the Langton Herring junction.
James Stephen Marshall Griffiths, 22, denies causing the death of Miss Samways by dangerous driving and is on trial at Dorchester Crown Court.
The jury heard that Griffiths was driving the car carrying Miss Samways and friends Darryl Hills and Jamie Carter from Weymouth to Bridport to get identification after he had been refused entry to the Dusk nightclub.
He told police in interviews that the car skidded on ice before hitting a hedge, flipping over and coming to a halt.
Griffiths told the police: “The first thing I thought was ‘is everybody ok?’. Jamie shouted and Darryl shouted in amongst the chaos.
“We all thought we all shouted and Tash had shouted, a split second later we realised she didn’t.
“We all started shouting ‘Tash, say something’.”
Griffiths said the other two managed to get out of the car and he was able to get closer to Miss Samways at the scene near the Langton Herring junction.
He initially thought she was breathing but soon afterwards she stopped and he said that he dropped to the ground.
Griffiths said: “I dropped to the ground. I stayed there looking at her.”
Griffiths told police that he was driving at no more than 65mph prior to the crash with the speed limit at the time 60mph.
Earlier in the case, witness Tony Garland, landlord of the Victoria Inn at the Knights in the Bottom near the crash scene, told how he saw the car speed past.
“I was sat there watching TV when all of a sudden a vehicle went past at horrific speed.”
Senior forensic collision investigator Sergeant James Allmond, who examined the crash scene, said that the car was travelling over 60mph but couldn’t calculate exactly how much but that it was a high-speed collision.
Sgt Allmond added that the car span, rolled and cartwheeled before coming to a halt at a point around 140 metres down the road.
They heard prosecution claims that Griffiths drank three pints of lager and a shot before he drove the group to Weymouth. He would have been just under the limit at the time of the crash, according to a forensic scientist’s calculations.
PC Steve Budd, who attended the crash with PC Caroline Orchard, said he encountered ice as he drove through Buckland Ripers to the coast road and the crash scene. However, he said at the site there were no signs of ice.
Griffiths admits a charge of causing death by careless driving but has pleaded not guilty to the more serious charge of death by dangerous driving.
Griffiths did not give evidence in his defence case. In his closing speech prosecutor Charles Gabb said: “The Crown says there is a clear and unambiguous case of him driving not just extremely quickly but under the influence of alcohol and showing off.
“That all makes a very toxic mix which tragically as we know had its all too obvious consequences.”
David Lyons, representing Griffiths, said that the crash was caused by the car clipping the kerb due to what he believed was ice.
He said: “That is the defence case, he made a small error, he clipped the kerb. The consequences were enormous. He broke his neck, he killed a friend.”
Mr Lyons added: “This was a terrible, careless error but it was not dangerous.”
The case continues.