TWO teenagers were unlawfully killed in a horror 80mph car smash when their friend ploughed into a tree, an inquest has concluded this afternoon.
Antonia Browne, 14, and Thomas Hughes, 15, were killed instantly when the Honda Civic they were travelling in careered off the road and impacted with a tree with such force that the car ripped in two.
Thomas’ 16-year-old step-cousin, Michael Gallagher, who was driving, was pronounced dead at Doncaster Royal Infirmary shortly after the crash.
Antonia‘s parents, of Pembrooke Avenue, Balby, held hands and fought back tears as the details of the crash on January 30 last year were read out in detail.
The aftermath of the smash which left wreckage strewn all across the road was among the worst coroner Fred Curtis had seen in his career, he said.
Police calculations found the car was travelling above 74mph, and more than likely faster than 80mph, the court heard.
The Honda was taking a racing line around a bend in Sheffield Road, Conisbrough, meaning the car cut across lanes to take the bend at a higher speed before it skidded out of control, the hearing was told.
All three people in the car had been drinking at Michael’s home in Barrel Lane, Warmsworth, after his mother had gone out for the night, with two other teenage girls. McAuley School pupils Michael and Antonia, as well as Thomas, who attended Hall Cross and lived in Thealby Gardens Bessacarr, took the car at around 3am.
His mother had left the keys in case Michael needed to move the vehicle down the drive to get his moped out of the garage.
A statement by her read out to the court said she knew her son had been allowed to drive cars off road by his father but said he knew not to drive on public roads.
Mr Curtis recorded verdicts that Antonia and Thomas were unlawfully killed. Michael’s death was accidental he concluded.
Summing up Mr Curtis said: “This is some of the worst damage I have ever seen in my role as a coroner.
“These young people were trusted not to drink alcohol and had no authority to take a car off - that trust seems to have been misplaced.
“Three of them succumbed to the temptation to take the car when the keys were available to them and I hope this acts as a serious deterrent to not only those who thinking about taking cars, but those who get into the cars with them.”