Stevenage boy racer jailed after Welwyn Garden City crash causes ‘catastrophic injuries’


- Credit: Archant

A boy racer has been jailed for 27 months after his dangerous driving led to a crash which resulted in ‘catastrophic injuries’.

Clayton Kentsley, of North Road in Stevenage, and his friend Connell Burgham were racing each other in their cars in Welwyn Garden City when Burgham lost control on a bend and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction.

Burgham, from Welham Green, suffered life-changing multiple injuries, including a head and neck injury, and now cannot work and needs constant supervision. He suffered a personality disorder because of what happened that day, almost two years ago, and it is unlikely he will ever fully recover.

A five-year-old boy was a back seat passenger in the car which collided with Burgham’s Saab. He sustained serious injury and needed surgery. His dad, the driver, broke his elbow.

Last month, Kentsley went on trial after pleading not guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He had admitted an offence of dangerous driving, but a jury found him guilty of the charge he had denied.

On Tuesday, when 23-year-old Kentsley appeared at St Albans Crown Court for sentencing, Judge Stephen Warner told him: “You drove with complete disregard for the safety of others on the road.

“You were in effect egging each other on by driving as you did.”

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A witness had seen Kentsley tailgating Burgham in his Citroen Saxo moments before the crash on Cole Green Lane at about 2.45pm. Approaching a left-hand bend, Kentsley had pulled out into the oncoming lane as if to overtake and Burgham had increased his speed.

The judge said both had been driving above the 30mph speed limit. “By how much it’s not possible to say,” he said, adding that a witness had described them as ‘racing and an accident waiting to happen’.

Burgham lost control and veered into the path of an oncoming Jaguar.

Kentsley had pulled back in behind Burgham just before they entered the bend and his car avoided the crash. But Judge Warner told him a jury had been satisfied his driving that day was a cause of the accident.

The judge said not only had the five-year-old boy been badly injured and undergone surgery, but Burgham had suffered “catastrophic injuries” as well.

He said: “You bear responsibility for that to some extent.”

Burgham was not in court, but the jury decided he had caused serious injury to the boy by dangerous driving.

After hearing of Burgham’s condition Judge Warner sentenced him to an absolute discharge.

He jailed Kentsley for 27 months, disqualified him from driving for three years and ordered he must take an extended driving test before he gets behind the wheel of a car again.