Death crash driver can’t recall smash

Court Reports: All the latest top stories from Crown Court and Magistrates hearings throughout South Yorkshire.
Court Reports: All the latest top stories from Crown Court and Magistrates hearings throughout South Yorkshire.

A DRIVER showing off his new high-powered sports car slammed into a tree, killing his friend in the front-seat passenger seat, a court heard.

Stephen Cape’s coupe was sliced in two by the “catastrophic” impact - but the 25-year-old survived after being thrown into road.

Pal Mark Bingley, whom he had picked up just a few minutes before, died from serious head and internal injuries in the crash just before midnight Monday, April 19, last year on Lamb Lane, Firbeck, near Rotherham.

Cape, of Nursery Road, North Anston, has admitted causing death by careless driving - but is on trial for the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving, which he denies.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he was driving a Honda Integra Type R imported from Japan which had been fitted with a larger than standard exhaust. Cape had bought the front-wheel drive, two-litre engine sports car from a specialist in Scunthorpe only five days before.

Elizabeth Martin, prosecuting, told the court he lost control of the car as he rounded a bend at speed. She alleged it was his dangerous driving which caused the death of Mr Bingley, 22, from Carlton-in-Lindrick.

Police accident investigator Jarrod Barton said he believed the car lifted off after the driver over-steered on a sweeping left-hand bend. He calculated the maximum safe speed to negotiate the bend was 76mph.

Motorist Kathleen Walker was overtaken by the Honda minutes before the crash. She was travelling at 40mph when she noticed lights in her mirror. “It was like a rocket flying down the road,” she said.

Elliott Gale, who lives on Lamb Lane, was at home when he heard the crash. He said: “It sounded like it was travelling very fast.”

Neighbour Michael Sheldon heard a loud “whoof” as he watched television with his wife. He said: “It scared us.”

Supermarket manager Stephen Line came across the crash as he drove home. He found a tree across the road and Cape sitting upright in the middle of the carriageway.

“He told me he had gone round the corner and the next thing he knew he was lying in the road,” he said.

Cape can remember nothing of the accident after suffering a traumatic brain injury, the loss of two toes, and a fractured ankle and collarbone.

He only remembered waking up in a Sheffield hospital three or four days later. He said he knew the road well but did not know how fast he was travelling.

The trial continues.