`Driver used rally skill to kill couple'

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The Independent Online
A MOTORIST who boasted to police that he was "the best driver ever" killed a young couple instantly by shunting their car out of his way and into the path of an oncoming vehicle on a dual carriageway, a court was told yesterday.

Jason Humble, an amateur rally driver for 15 years, failed to stop his powerful former police car, a Vauxhall Senator, after the accident, even though it must have been obvious something serious had happened, the Old Bailey was told.

The crash that killed Toby Exley, 22, and his girlfriend, Karen Martin, 20, at Hanworth, west London, last October prompted a major police hunt for the following car and press speculation that the accident was the work of a hitman, or was drug-related, David Perry, for the prosecution, told the jury: "But the truth was it was pointless and random and not connected with drug dealing or hit men."

He said that Mr Humble's car was seen by a motorcyclist to strike the couple's black Ford Fiesta three times in the rear. "Toby Exley and Karen Martin died because the defendant became impatient with them. He used his skill as a driver - if skill it was - to nudge their car out of the way."

Mr Humble, 33, unemployed, of Farnborough, Hampshire, denies manslaughter. He also pleads not guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

The motorcyclist, Brian Gill, 40, a teacher of north London, said that the Fiesta was pushed. "There was a screaming noise from the tyres and a lot of smoke came out. It went off sideways," he told the court.

According to the prosecution, the Fiesta turned almost 90 degrees across the central reservation barrier, into the path of another driver.

"It was more of a push than a bump. Mr Gill heard the squeal of tyres. He saw the defendant's car pull back and drive up again, making contact a second time," Mr Perry said. "Then it pulled back before accelerating forward again, striking it in the rear."

The identity of the other car and its driver remained a mystery for more than two weeks, Mr Perry said. When Mr Humble was eventually arrested 17 days later, he admitted that he had been the driver but denied deliberately using his car to force the other car on to the oncoming carriageway. "He said there was a minute possibility the vehicles had touched but he had not been responsible for causing Mr Exley to lose control."

Asked whether he was driving dangerously, Mr Humble allegedly told police: "Absolutely not. I think I am the best driver ever." He told police that Mr Exley had cut him up on a roundabout and was driving like "a prat". He said he sat behind him for a while and flashed him once or twice.

The Fiesta braked, forcing him to brake. Mr Humble allegedly said he thought Mr Exley was deliberately blocking him and was "pissed off". He had not stayed at the scene nor report it because he was fearful.

Tests on Mr Exley after the crash showed traces of a product of cocaine in his urine and traces of cannabis in his blood. But a blood-alcohol test was negative, the court was told.

The case continues.