[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
Life sentence for banned driver
Andrew Bennett
Bennett drove at speeds of up to 90mph, the court heard
A banned driver who did not call 999 when his girlfriend was fatally hurt in a crash has been jailed for life for her manslaughter.

Kirsty Cash, 17, died after Andrew Bennett, 20, crashed a Subaru Impreza on the outskirts of Sheffield in April.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Miss Cash might have lived, but Bennett failed to call an ambulance for 45 minutes.

Bennett, from Sheffield, admitted manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and driving while disqualified.

He must spend four and a half years in jail before he can be considered for parole.

Prolific criminal record

His mother and two friends were sentenced to six months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Miss Cash's father Stanley called the sentences a "joke" adding: "I am prepared to hang for what I would do to all of them.

"They have still got their sons but I have lost my daughter."

The court heard Bennett had a prolific criminal record, was high on drink and drugs at the time of the crash and was driving at speeds reaching 90mph (145km/h).

Kirsty Cash
Help was called only after Kirsty was taken away from the crash scene

The Subaru left the road, collided with a series of trees and then turned on its side and Kirsty Cash was thrown through the windscreen.

Kirsty was taken to Bennett's Sheffield home before an ambulance was called.

The delay probably led to her death, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Bennett's mother Linda Bennett, 48, her partner Robin Scholes, 39, and a friend Steven Scott, 19, all admitted a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The Recorder of Sheffield Judge Alan Goldsack QC told Bennett: "When you found Kirsty seriously injured, you had no thought for anyone but yourself. You were determined to evade detection."

The judge said there was a good chance his girlfriend would have survived if he had sought medical help immediately.

He said Bennett posed a risk to the public and an indeterminate life sentence at a young offenders' institution was the right course of action.

He added: "In my judgment there is a significant risk that, without proper safeguards, you will again be tempted to drive a car.

"If a police car came up behind you, you would put your foot down to try to evade detection, with further serious consequences."

Reaction to the sentencing

999 call 'might have saved girl'
08 Aug 06 |  South Yorkshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific