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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 16:32 GMT
Teenagers jailed over road deaths
Craig McLeod (l) and Jonathan Madge (r)
Craig McLeod (l) and Jonathan Madge (r) had been racing
Two 18-year-old men from north Devon have been sent to youth custody over a road crash which killed two teenagers.

Craig McLeod, in a car with no MoT or insurance, was racing Jonathan Madge when he collided with a bus in South Molton in February.

McLeod, of Barnstaple, admitted killing passengers Jake Forrest, 15, and Benjamin Cloake, 16, by dangerous driving and was jailed for four years.

Madge, also of Barnstaple, was jailed for 15 months for dangerous driving.

You were driving like a lunatic
Judge Graham Cottle to McLeod

At Exeter Crown Court, prosecutor Simon Laws said earlier in the day of the accident a group of youths had persuaded a garage owner to give them a Vauxhall Nova for nothing after he was told it was going to be used for banger racing.

Learner driver McLeod, 17 at the time, got behind the wheel and with four passengers proceeded to "trash" the vehicle round the back lanes of north Devon.

He was joined by Madge, also 17 at the time, who had a Ford Fiesta with four passengers. The pair then raced each other, dangerously overtaking each other and driving on the wrong side of the road, according to witnesses.

In Station Road, South Molton, McLeod failed to negotiate a bend and collided with an oncoming bus at about 60mph (97k/ph).

It left the carriageway, went through a fence and ended up in a field. Jake Forrest and Benjamin Cloake died at the scene.

The Fiesta also came off the road and collided with an electricity pole, which it felled.

'Outrageously dangerous'

Agricultural student McLeod, of St James Close, Landkey, was sent to a youth custody centre and banned from driving for five years for causing the deaths by dangerous driving.

Apprentice carpenter Madge, of Bridge Court, Landkey, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He was sentenced to 15 months in youth custody and banned from driving for three years.

Judge Graham Cottle told McLeod: "You were driving like a lunatic. It was outrageously dangerous and when the inevitable accident happened you were driving far too fast and were quite unable to hold the bend."

Mr Peter Ashman, defending McLeod, and Mr Richard Crabb, for Madge, said both were now full of remorse.


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