A teenager who caused a collision due to careless driving in which two motorcyclists died has been sentenced to 10 months in prison.
Joshua Kempster, 19, from West Meon, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court. He will serve five months at a young offenders institute and will also be disqualified from driving for 35 months.
Kempster pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of motorcyclists, Andrew Cuthbert, 58, and Gary Groves, 62, on the Bishop’s Waltham to Corhampton road in February 2020, due to careless driving.
The families of Mr Cuthbert, from Waltham Chase, and Mr Groves, from Southampton, told the court today of the impact of the loss of their loved ones.
The court heard today that Kempster has 2.8 micrograms of cannabis in his blood when tested following the collision but that the Crown Prosecution Service did not charge him with driving while under the influence of drink or drugs. The prosecution level for drug driving is 2 micrograms per one litre of blood. The defence claimed the prosecution accepted that Mr Kempster’s driving was not impaired by it which is why he was not charged with that offence.
Before passing sentence on Kempster Judge Timothy Mousley QC said that Mr Groves and Mr Cuthbert had “a reputation for being extremely sensible riders and safety conscious.”
He said Mr Cuthbert was a devoted son and a thoughtful, kind man. He was, he said, irreplaceable for his son Joe and said his daughter Amy thought he was a perfect father and proud grandfather.
Gary Groves, the Judge said, was someone who “lit up a room” and was also a devoted family man and a loyal friend.
“People who knew him will never get over this,” he added.
“Two very good men have died and two families are devastated. No sentence that I pass can even begin to compensate them for their loss.”
The Judge said that Kempster’s speed was excessive as he left Bishop’s Waltham and that he had already overtaken four cars in one manoeuvre before the collision in which Mr Groves and Mr Cuthbert died.
Kempster’s defence barrister said that victims of the collision entirely blameless and acknowledge that no sentence could be passed that would be able to provide the victims families with any comfort.
He added the incident has had a profound impact on Kempster saying that Kempster knows his actions “cost two lives and he will have to live with that.”
Kempster had been cleared of dangerous driving in July 2021 following a trial. At the time he walked free from court after all charges were dropped due to a legal issue, which has been blamed on the Crown Prosecution Service.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to careless driving but as the prosecution did not accept his guilty plea – instead arguing for the higher charge of dangerous driving – it was no longer valid.
At the time, Portsmouth Crown Court heard that as a result the court had ‘no option’ but to discharge him from the proceedings and let him walk free.
Then in November 2021 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) authorised the police to charge Kempster with two offences of causing death by careless driving.
The court also heard today that his defence team mentioned then that there was a legal precedent that could be explored regarding him being charged again but that Kempster had rejected that immediately as his attitude was that he was guilty of the offences with which he had been charged.