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'Lunatic' driver jailed for double fatal Morley crash

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image copyrightWest Yorkshire Police
image captionRhys Baker and George Wharton were both killed in the crash

A motorist who advertised lifts "cheaper than a taxi" on social media before causing a crash which killed two teenage passengers has been jailed for seven and a half years.

George Wharton, 14, and Rhys Baker, 13, died when Thomas McMeekin crashed into a tree in Morley, Leeds, in March 2015.

The defendant, 23, and a teenage passenger were left paralysed by the crash, Leeds Crown Court was told.

McMeekin, from Morley, admitted causing death by dangerous driving.

The Recorder of Leeds, Peter Collier QC said witnesses who had seen McMeekin on the roads that day described his driving as "aggressive", "that of an idiot" and "an accident waiting to happen".

He told the court that McMeekin enjoyed drawing attention to the way he drove and had been criticised in the past by passengers and his own mother, who had threatened to take away his car.

Judge Collier told McMeekin: "On the 7 March 2015, by your dangerous driving, you took the lives of two children, seriously injured two others and caused serious injuries to yourself."

image captionThe crash happened on 7 March last year

The judge said the defendant would take teenagers out in his car in exchange for petrol money and, on the day of the crash, picked up the four boys with the intention of taking them to buy fast food.

Speaking about McMeekin's passengers, the judge said: "They were young and, it would appear, they were drawn by the excitement of riding round but they were too young to appreciate the risks you ran when you diced with death on a daily basis."

image copyrightWest Yorkshire Police
image captionThomas McMeekin, 23, was left paralysed from the waist down after the crash

One of the injured boys, who was 14, was rendered tetraplegic as a result of his injuries while the other, a 15-year-old, suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries.

McMeekin was paralysed from the waist down and will require 24-hour care while in prison.

image captionFlowers and tributes were left at the scene off Gelderd Road in Morley

Related Topics

  • Morley
  • Leeds

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  • Morley fatal crash motorist was 'driving like a lunatic'

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