Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Passenger jailed for causing death by dangerous driving

Mary Butres (l) and John Nicols
Butres and Nichols had spent the day drinking

A man has been jailed for four years for causing the deaths of a couple by dangerous driving in Lincolnshire - despite not being behind the wheel.

John Nichols was in the passenger seat as the car hit Mark Crompton and Jodie Brown on the A1 near Grantham in 2007.

Driver Mary Butres, who was speeding and drink-driving, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years last month.

Businessman Nichols, of Manor Road, Carlby, had earlier denied causing death by dangerous driving.

He was also banned from driving for four years and ordered to pay £19,420 in costs at Nottingham Crown Court.

Butres, 48, of St Mary's Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire, had admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

At an earlier hearing, Nichols, the owner of a packing firm BM Partnership Ltd of Ely, Cambridgeshire, was found guilty of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving because he had failed to tell his fellow company director and partner to slow down.

Bad weather

In sentencing, Judge John Milmo, said Nichols had been aware Butres was over the drink-drive limit and knew she was driving far too fast for the conditions.

The car's "black box" data recorder revealed Butres was travelling at up to 113 mph (181km/h) despite bad weather. The road was full of puddles after heavy rain and the car aquaplaned into the couple, the court heard at an earlier hearing.

Her blood-alcohol level showed she would have been almost one-and-a-half times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

Mark Crompton and Jodie Brown
Mark Crompton and Jodie Brown were phoning for help when they were hit

Butres and Nichols had visited Nottingham Racecourse where they had drunk around a bottle-and-a-half of wine.

Nichols gave his car keys to the twice-divorced mother-of-two to drive them back because he had drunk "the majority" of the wine.

Council worker Mr Crompton, 20, and Miss Brown, 19, both of Swinstead, Lincolnshire, were returning home from a gym when they broke down on the A1 at Great Ponton, near Grantham.

The court heard they were phoning for help when they were hit by the Jaguar with such force that they were thrown into the opposite carriageway.

Butres had originally denied causing death by dangerous driving, but was convicted in October 2008.

She later successfully appealed against the conviction, and was ordered to be retried. However, she changed her plea to guilty before that retrial last year.

The court was told Nichols had recently suffered from two brain tumours which he blamed on the stress caused by the accident and his prosecution.

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Butres and Nichols were returning from a day at Nottingham racecourse



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