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Driver who killed friend in 'deliberate hooning session' is jailed

PUBLISHED: 14:46 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:04 11 September 2019

Kimberley Hudson (right) who was killed in a car crash in Yorkshire in January last year. Picture Carl Nichols.

Kimberley Hudson (right) who was killed in a car crash in Yorkshire in January last year. Picture Carl Nichols.

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A driver who "took delight" in showing off his car has been jailed for more than three years after killing his friend - 22-year-old Kimberley Hudson.

Kimberley Hudson. Picture Bonnie Hudson.Kimberley Hudson. Picture Bonnie Hudson.

The former Attleborough High School pupil and care assistant died on January 13 last year.

She had been the front seat passenger in Jamie Damerell's Subaru Impreza during a "hooning" session when he lost control at a bend on the A65 near Settle and struck a fence.

Miss Hudson was killed instantly while Damerell, now 29, was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

And today Damerell was jailed for three years and four months at Bradford Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to causing his friend's death by dangerous driving.

Damerell, of Pendle View, Hellifield, was also banned from driving for five years and eight months and ordered to take an extended re-test at the end of his disqualification period.

Prosecutor Michael Smith said Miss Hudson, "a self-confessed petrolhead" who loved cars, had travelled to North Yorkshire with a friend.

He said she particularly liked Subarus and even had her nails done in the typical colours of the car.

"The defendant owned a Subaru and the evidence is clear that she was excited to see it and be driven around in it," said Mr Smith.

The court heard that Miss Hudson's last text referred to her going out with the defendant for a "hooning" in the Subaru adding: "He promised me he'd give it some."

Kimberley Hudson with her father Karl Hudson. Picture Bonnie Hudson.Kimberley Hudson with her father Karl Hudson. Picture Bonnie Hudson.

Mr Smith explained that "hooning" was a term used for driving a car hard and he outlined evidence from other people who had been in Damerell's vehicle earlier that day and had been scared by the manner of his driving.

One woman described how his driving made her hold her breath and he appeared to be showing off.

He said Miss Hudson had told Damerell not to drive fast because the other passengers didn't like it, but he indicated he would take her for a session later.

"That is evidence of there being an understanding that Mr Damerell would take out Miss Hudson later that day on their own for a proper session when other passengers who were scared of the speed would not be in the car," said Mr Smith.

"Miss Hudson was excited by the prospect. She wanted to go and see what this car could do."

Mr Smith said Miss Hudson told her friend not to worry as they went out that evening, but a short time later they received the news that the collision had occurred.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC was shown dashcam footage from a police car of the route along the A65 in daylight and at night and Mr Smith outlined the complex nature of the 60mph road with restricted visibility, double white lines and S-bends on the approach to the crash scene.

He said the speed of the Subaru at the time of the crash could not be calculated, but the vehicle could have negotiated the final bend at up to 70mph.

"The prosecution's case is one of the main purposes of the journey to the petrol station was for the defendant to show Miss Hudson what his car could do," said Mr Smith.

Kimberley Hudson, who died in a crash last January, with boyfriend Dan Moore. Picture: Dan MooreKimberley Hudson, who died in a crash last January, with boyfriend Dan Moore. Picture: Dan Moore

"As a result the defendant entered the corner too fast, lost control and collided with the fence. As a result of which Miss Hudson died."

Damerell, who suffered minor injuries, initially claimed that he lost control because there had been another car on his side of the road.

The court heard paper mill worker Damerell had owned the Subaru for about a year and he had no previous convictions.

Mr Smith read out victim impact statements provided by members of Miss Hudson's family in which they described her as "a born carer" who was loved by many.

Her mother Amanda Nichols said her heart stopped beating the moment her daughter passed away.

"I will never have the opportunity to see Kimberley get married, have children or excel in her career," she said.

Another relative described the loss as "immeasurable" and an aunt said a "happy-go-lucky" niece had been taken away from them all in such a tragic way.

David Toal, for father-of-two Damerell, said his client never wanted or intended anyone to get hurt or lose their life that evening.

He described Miss Hudson as "a dear friend" of the defendant and said it was ironic that their joint love of cars had resulted in the terrible circumstances of the case.

Mr Toal said what his client saw that night would live with him forever and he fully appreciated what he had done.

Jailing Damerell, Judge Durham Hall described it as a dreadful and appalling case in which there were no winners.

He said the A65 was a road that demanded care and attention and Damerell's driving that night was "utterly inappropriate".

The judge said just because a passenger, especially one like Kimberley, delighted in such cars and had an expectation of being driven fast it did not excuse Damerell, or anybody else, for one moment.

"Your responsibility wasn't to thrill or scare or frighten or entertain or show off. It was to drive appropriately and to protect her," said the judge.

"This was a deliberate hooning session where you were deliberately taking delight in driving your car aggressively for, you thought, the enjoyment of Kimberley forgetting the need for her safety."

After Miss Hudson's death her friends and family said they were "absolutely heartbroken".

Her boyfriend, delivery driver Dan Moore, paid an emotional tribute to his "soulmate" and the "love of my life".

"We had a future planned - she was my soulmate, my gorgeous girl and she will forever be in my heart and my memories," he said.

"I never ever thought the last time I'd see her would be Saturday morning. I cannot express how truly happy and loved she made me feel.

"I may have had the love of my life away from me but the memories that we created together will never ever leave me. I love her so, so much and she will forever be in my heart.

Mr Moore said Miss Hudson's family and friends were "heartbroken" by her tragic death.

He said: "Kimberley was loved so much - not only by me, but by her family and friends too and we are all heartbroken to lose a happy, smiley, kind, sweet, funny, amazing girl that everyone absolutely adored.

"She was the most amazing person I have ever met and I'm so happy that I had the privilege to call her my girlfriend."

In a tribute her sister, Bonnie Hudson, and father, Karl Hudson, said: "She will be dearly missed by all of us, dad, siblings and her mum, her boyfriend and her never ending list of friends. She was taken too soon."

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