Megan Bannister: Men discovered with dead schoolgirl in car jailed and branded 'callous and morally repugnant' by judge

Jason Burder, 29, and Adam King, 28, plead guilty to drugs charges after being cleared of gross negligence manslaughter

Richard Vernalls
Thursday 30 November 2017 08:17
Megan Bannister
Megan Bannister

Two men have been jailed for what a judge called the “callous and morally repugnant” roles they played in supplying a schoolgirl with MDMA shortly before her death.

Jason Burder, 29, and 28-year-old Adam King had pleaded guilty to drugs charges after being cleared of the gross negligence manslaughter of Megan Bannister part-way through their trial.

Burder, described by the High Court judge as the “prime mover”, drove the 16-year-old around in his car for hours, drinking beers with his passenger “easily-led” King, who spent his time browsing online escort services.

Megan was discovered dead on the backseat of Burder's Vauxhall Astra, only after he crashed the car near Enderby, Leicestershire, on the morning of 14 May.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court had heard that Burder told his mother shortly before 7.50am the men were taking Megan home, but instead the “indifferent” pair drove around with the young girl, who was left covered with a coat.

Sentencing seasoned drug-user and “pusher” Burder on Wednesday for supplying Megan with MDMA, Mrs Justice Jefford said: “The fact of Megan's death and your behaviour towards her, which I have already described as callous and morally repugnant, are matters I could and should take into account when sentencing.”

She added: “She was a much younger girl being induced to take more drugs than you, an experienced drug-user did.”

The judge said the men had “targeted” the girl, both chipping into buy the drugs and then “by stealth or persuasion, you got her to take far more than either of you did”.

She described Burder's role as “far more serious”, as it was he who then filmed the effects of MDMA on Megan in his bedroom, “broadcasting her suffering the effects of the drug on Snapchat”.

While Megan was still in his room, along with King, he sent a message pretending he had not seen the GCSE student, who had dreamed of becoming a midwife.

Mrs Justice Jefford added: “You videoed her, shared images of her when she was clearly not in control.

“You laughed at her and made unkind remarks about her.

“Rather than care for her you dumped her in the back seat of your car and drove around with no concern for anyone other than yourself.”

She told Burder, of Braunstone Avenue, Leicester: “I am told you lost a baby. That is your personal tragedy and if anything makes worse your complete lack of remorse for what happened to Megan, and her family's loss of a daughter.”

Departing from normal sentencing guidelines she handed Burder a hefty prison term, because of the “many aggravating factors”.

He was jailed for a total of eight-and-a-half years, after also pleading guilty to possession of MDMA found at the crash scene, two counts of supplying drugs to another woman, and a careless driving offence for his role in the road collision.

Turning to King, of Waltham Avenue, Leicester, who admitted being concerned in the supply of 2g of MDMA to Megan. the judge told him: “Everything I have said about the lack of care and concern shown to Megan by Jason Burder, applies equally to you.”

She jailed him for four-and-a-half years.

The judge praised Megan's family, who sat throughout the trial listening to harrowing evidence, adding: “All their hopes for Megan's future have been taken from her parents and siblings, including her twin brother.”

PA