Man City's Courtney Meppen-Walter jailed for death crash

Courtney Meppen-Walter Image copyright Police
Image caption Meppen-Walter admitted causing death by careless driving

A Manchester City youth team player who caused the death of two people in a car crash has been jailed for 16 months.

Courtney Meppen-Walter killed brother and sister Kulwant Singh and Ravel Kaur when his Mercedes hit their car in September.

Manchester Crown Court heard he was driving at up to twice the 30mph limit in central Manchester at the time.

The 18-year-old, who admitted causing death by careless driving, was also banned from driving for three years.

'Orphaned sons'

Meppen-Walter, of Middleton Road, Blackley, has not played for Manchester City's first team but has captained the England under-18 squad.

The court was told Mr Singh, 32, and Mrs Kaur, 37, had been sitting in the front of a Nissan Micra when it was struck by Meppen-Walter's Mercedes C220 saloon, owned by his grandfather, at 22:15 BST on 1 September.

They had been emerging from a side street when the crash happened, at the junction of Great Ducie Street and Sherborne Street.

At the time of the impact, Meppen-Walter was driving at 55.89mph and was accelerating, the court heard.

Police said Mrs Kaur's 16 and 17-year-old sons, who were in the back of the Micra and injured in the collision, were "making a good recovery". The pair are now orphans as their father was killed in Afghanistan.

Moments before the crash, the defendant had been "jockeying" and "playing games" with a friend in a Volkswagen Golf along a nearby dual carriageway, the jury was told.

Meppen-Walter jumped out of his car and tried to help the injured, waving his arms and saying: "What have I done?"

Taliban persecution

The defendant, who has played 17 times for his country, is expected to serve half his sentence - eight months - in custody but may be released earlier on an electronic tag.

Mr Singh's widow sat in the public gallery, with an interpreter relaying the proceedings, and wiped away tears during the hearing.

Image copyright Police
Image caption Kulwant Singh and Ravel Kaur were killed in the crash in September

The crash victims came to the UK in 2001 to start a new life after fleeing persecution by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the court heard.

Part of a victim impact statement by Kushwant Kaur, Mr Singh's widow, was read to the court, which said: "My life is destroyed after the collision. It feels like the whole world finished and the children's life destroyed.

"We were planning our future together."

Meppen-Walter had one previous conviction for speeding - again doing 56mph in a 30mph zone.

Gwyn Lewis, defending, said he was "truly sorry" for what he had done.

"The incident was over in a flash," said Mr Lewis. "He stayed at the scene and tried to assist but it was already too late.

"The probation report says he's a young man who wished he could have those 10 seconds back, but of course he can't."

A statement from Manchester City said the club sent its "heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of [the victims], in what was a devastating tragedy for them and the Greater Manchester community at large".

It is understood Meppen-Walter's contract with Manchester City expires in the summer and is not going to be renewed, on footballing grounds rather than because of the case.

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