Emotional teenager admits causing boy's crash death

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The Independent Online

A teenager fought back tears in a courtroom today as he admitted causing the death of a 10-year-old boy in a hit-and-run.

John Smith, 18, appeared at York Crown Court charged over the death of Sean Hamilton, who was hit by a Ford Transit van as he crossed Holgate Road in the city on October 3 last year.

The youngster was treated at the scene by paramedics and then taken to York District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

North Yorkshire Police said at the time that the occupants of the van stopped after the incident but then abandoned the vehicle and ran off.

In court today, Smith, wearing dark trousers, a black T-shirt and black hooded jacket, fought back sobs as he pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

His voice was barely audible as he spoke to enter guilty pleas to two further charges of failure to stop at the scene and failure to report the accident.

The teenager, of Lynwith Lane, Carlton, rested his head on the bench in front of him and looked visibly shaken as the judge spoke to him towards the end of the 10-minute hearing.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said he could not promise he would not be handed a custodial sentence and warned it was in the court's power to jail him due to the seriousness of the offence.

He said granting conditional bail "carries no promise to the ultimate outcome of this case".

He added: "The fact that you've pleaded guilty is something that will be taken into account in your case."

The judge also imposed an interim disqualification from driving and set a sentence hearing for September 30.

Members of Sean's family were present in court but were too upset to speak to press after the hearing and said they would prepare a statement once Smith had been sentenced.