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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 12:52 UK

Youth, 17, crashed car while on drink and drugs

James Coates, 17, died after the crash
James Coates, 17, died after the crash

A teenager who crashed his car while on drink and drugs, killing a friend, has been sentenced to three and a half years in youth custody.

Adam Thorogood, 17, of Boverton, Vale of Glamorgan, had passed his driving test a month before the crash which killed James Coates, 17, of Rhoose.

He admitted causing death by careless driving at Cardiff Crown Court.

He was given a five-year ban and told to retake his test when released from a young offenders' institution.

The incident happened at around 0140 BST on 22 August last year on a country lane, the B4265 between Llantwit Major and St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The court heard that Thorogood had been drinking and smoking cannabis before his Honda Civic car crashed.

Tests showed he had up to 155 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

Thorogood told police: "I wasn't speeding because I didn't want any blue flashing lights behind me because I'd been drinking."

James Coates was thrown out of the car, the court was told, but Thorogood then told rescuers he only had two passengers.

Third passenger

The court heard James lay dying for an hour while police and paramedics were just yards away.

It was only when one of the car's two other back seat passengers asked: "Where's James?" that emergency services realised there was a third passenger.

But by that time the apprentice bricklayer was found dead under a tree.

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC told Thorogood: "You told the emergency services only your two surviving passengers had been in the car with you.

"That can only be because of shock, what you had had to drink, an attempt to deceive or a combination of all three."

James's mother Shirley said after the case: "James was a loving, gentle young man - one of a kind."



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