No licence, no lessons and driving at 120mph

THE devastating crash which killed 16-year-old Elise Kelly was described as a scene from the car chase film Fast and Furious, with potential speeds of up to 120mph.

As prosecutor Trevor Parry-Jones read out the dramatic details in court, it was revealed that 17-year-old driver, Paul Lace, of Pinewood Crescent, Ince, had consumed cocaine before taking to the wheel and had never had any lessons.

Paul Lace

Paul Lace

The court heard that an on-duty police offer had spotted the BMW car driven by Lace, and followed it, in the early hours of March 7.

But as she lost sight of the vehicle, it was believed the 17-year-old was travelling in excess of 70mph, before he lost control and smashed into a garden wall.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “It was like something from Fast and Furious.”

The court heard that Elise and her friend Nikita Winstanley had met Lace near the Anderton Arms and exchanged numbers. He then rang them a few hours later and Alan Shinton, of Nelson Drive, Ince, was then driving the car which was his, and picked them up at Pinewood Crescent.

The driver was still sitting in the car. His eyes were rolling about as if he was high on drugs or drink

Trevor Parry-Jones - prosecutor

The group then drank alcohol and had taken cocaine, although Ms Winstanley admitted she could not be clear who had taken the drugs.

As Shinton, 37, had consumed more than the legal amount, Lace - who had no licence or insurance - offered to drive, as he knew his friend had a previous conviction for drink driving.

Ms Winstanley had said that at one point, Lace was driving at a top speed of 120mph and Shinton told him to slow down, which the driver denied.

She added that both men had talked about going to petrol stations, taking fuel and not paying and that when they saw the police, the young driver was encouraged to break away at great speed.

Elise Kelly

Elise Kelly

Not long after, WPC Rooney spotted the BMW was “erratic and jerky” and followed the vehicle.

She did not use her lights and had not signalled for the driver to stop, but had noticed it had “accelerated greatly” and she could no longer keep up. She saw it had pulled into the Texaco Garage in Warrington Road and left to go back in the opposite direction it had been previously heading. The police officer once again lost sight of the car, but just after the roundabout, she witnessed “a scene of devastation,” adding that the car had spun 360 degrees.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “There was a significant amount of damage, with debris all around.”

Shinton had got out of the car, along with Ms Winstanley who was screaming hysterically, asking for someone to help Elise, who was in the front of the car.

Alan Shinton

Alan Shinton

Mr Parry-Jones added: “She was still breathing but she was clearly badly injured.

“The driver was still sitting in the car. His eyes were rolling about as if he was high on drugs or drink.”

Shinton handed the keys to the police and then he ran away from the scene. Lace then tried to minimise his role in the smash by insinuating that Shinton was driving.

A bag of cocaine was found in his sock and a toxicology report revealed he had traces of cocaine and cannabis in his blood. Despite attempts to save Elise, she died at Wigan Infirmary a short while later.

Representing Lace, Philip Astbury said: “Lace has shown remorse. When he was interviewed he said ‘my head is mashed up - she was a really nice girl’.”

Paul Lewis, representing Shinton, said: “Shinton was significantly older than anybody in that car and he has some responsibility. He had responsibility to recognise that Lace did not have a licence and was inexperienced. But it is clear from his account that he shouted at Mr Lace to slow down.

“He thought Mr Lace was better placed to drive the vehicle than he was, given the alcohol consumed.”

Summing up, Judge David Aubrey QC said: “A young life was tragically and needlessly lost. I am satisfied that Shinton told Lace to drive in consequence of his previous conviction for driving with excess of alcohol.

“There are aggravating factors in the fact you both knew Lace was inexperienced and had no insurance but Shinton - you told him to drive. You should have known better.

“Lace drove off at a speed likened to that of a car in Fast and Furious. The tyres were screeching and the engine was revving. You showed a disregard to other road users.”

Judge Aubrey also revoked the reporting restrictions to keep 17-year-old Lace anonymous, adding: “This is to deter others youngsters driving when they should not be. This shows the folly of inexperienced drivers, taking drugs driving a motor vehicle.

Lace, was sentenced to five years in a Young Offenders Institution (YOI) and disqualified from driving for six years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and two charges involving causing her death while driving without insurance and a licence.

Shinton was given a jail term of 14 months and disqualified from driving for three years for aiding and abetting death by dangerous driving. He initially denied the allegation, but admitted it at a previous court hearing.