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  • Ecstasy driver jailed after fatal crash
    BBC News – Friday, 15 June, 2001

    Copyright: BBC News

    A driver who fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, causing the deaths of four young people, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in a young offenders’ institute. Charlotte Frankham, 20, had slept for only four hours of the previous 42 having taken ecstasy at an all-night rave. Returning home on 18 June last year, she lost control of her Ford KA, causing the fatal three-car pile-up, a court was told. Frankham, of Totton, Southampton, Hampshire, admitted four charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

    Four other charges of careless driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, mainly ecstasy, were ordered to lie on file. Victoria Hart, 22, Alistair Knight, 26, Perry Cook, 25, and Paul Larcombe, 27, all from Swindon in Wiltshire, died when their VW Polo was hit by a Toyota Land Cruiser that had collided with Frankham’s car. Frankham was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Friday to two-and-a-half years for causing the death of each person. The sentences were to run concurrently. She was also banned from driving for five years.

    All-night rave

    The crash happened at 0910BST on the A43 near Cottisford, Oxfordshire, as Frankham returned from the all-night Gatecrasher Festival at Turweston Park, Buckinghamshire. Peter Nightingale, prosecuting, said Frankham, who was 18 at the time of the accident, had spent the night dancing and drinking water. “She did admit in interviews taking one ecstasy tablet at about midnight, the affects of which may be expected to last two to three hours,” he said.

    The court was told that Frankham left the dance party at 0830BST with three friends to return to Southampton. In police interviews following the tragedy she admitted to having been tired and dozy. Eyewitnesses reported seeing her car veering across lanes on the A43 shortly before her car collided with the Toyota travelling in the opposite direction.


    Mr Nightingale told the court there was no cause for the accident “other than the defendant falling asleep at the wheel”. Nigel Daly, defending, said Frankham knew she was responsible for the four deaths and for the suffering of their parents and friends. “She would like me to express to them how profoundly remorseful she is for causing them so much suffering,” he said.

    Sentencing Frankham, Mr Justice Leveson told her: “You had taken an ecstasy tablet and the prosecution has accepted that the affects had worn off but you later told police the effects would have worn you out – nevertheless you embarked on a long journey.”

    Warning to ravers

    After the hearing, the parents of crash victim Victoria Hart said her family and friends had been devastated by the crash. “The only hope we now have is that this tragedy should be a warning to anyone going to Gatecrashers this weekend to stop and think before they drive, especially if they have had little or no sleep, been drinking or taken drugs.”

    “We would not want any other families to suffer like us.”

    Glenys Larcombe, whose son Paul died in the crash, said: “The sentence was far too light and although we don’t feel any personal animosity to the defendant, the sentence should have sent a warning out about the dangers of driving after being up all night.”






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Forums Drugs Ecstasy & MDMA UK: ECSTASY driver jailed after fatal crash – June 2001