Seven-year sentence for joyrider who killed girl: Judge attacks 'folly' of giving repeated bail to youths who ignore conditions

A TEENAGE joyrider who was on bail when he killed a 13-year-old schoolgirl in a high-speed car was sentenced to seven years' detention yesterday.

Passing sentence at Stafford Crown Court, Mr Justice Rougier said the case illustrated the 'folly' of giving repeated bail to young men who 'showed not the slightest inclination to abide by its conditions'.

He told Carl Sherwood, 17, that the 'epidemic and menace of shiftless young men showing off in cars for kicks has got to stop'.

Sherwood admitted the manslaughter of Donna Cooper, 13, as she crossed the road on her way home from school for lunch in January this year. He also admitted aggravated vehicle taking.

Mr Justice Rougier, who ruled that juveniles involved in the case could be named, said: 'There is a need to deter other like-minded louts from this sort of behaviour.'

Sherwood, of Walsall, West Midlands, stood with his head bowed as the judge said that the way he drove the Ford Escort XR3i car that struck Donna was little short of murderous.

With Sherwood in the dock was Nigel Button, 26, of Walsall, who admitted aggravated vehicle taking and failing to stop after an accident. He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail.

Stuart Rollinson, 15, David Teale, 14, and Shaun Brockhouse, 13, all of Walsall, admitted aggravated vehicle taking. Each was made the subject of a two-year supervision order.

Earlier, when considering sentencing for one of the younger defendants the judge appeared to suggest that he was restricted from imposing a stiffer sentence. He remarked: 'Sentencing policy is almost entirely the province of the feeble-minded these days.'

The court heard that Donna, of Pelsall, West Midlands, had been on her way home from school at lunch time on 6 January when she was struck by the car driven by Sherwood.

Button was sitting in the front passenger seat and the other three were in the back of the car, which had been taken by Sherwood and Button the night before. At the time both were on bail in relation to other alleged offences.

Donna was carried along on the bonnet of the vehicle for almost 50 yards before she slid off into the gutter. She died soon afterwards in hospital.

Antony Palmer QC, for the prosecution, said shortly before the accident the car had been spotted by police in a patrol car who followed it at speeds approaching 70mph.

Despite damp conditions and school warning lights it overtook other vehicles at speed before hitting Donna.

The girl was struck with such force that part of her body went through the windscreen and her shoes and socks were torn off by the force of the impact.

Mr Palmer said one witness spoke of seeing the driver grinning, and another claimed to have heard Button shouting at Sherwood to put his foot down.

After the accident the car was abandoned and the five occupants ran off, but all were arrested within a few hours.

When interviewed by police, Sherwood allegedly told them: 'The girl was in the middle of the road and I couldn't stop.'

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road