Killer Sheffield motorist turned to drink

Christpher Deakin-Frith
Christpher Deakin-Frith

A MOTORIST who walked free from court after killing two friends in a head-on crash put lives at risk again when he got back behind the wheel, drunk.

Christopher Deakin-Frith, aged 21, killed father-of-four Liam Oliver – drummer with city indie band Gledhill – and the musician’s girlfriend Sarah Kate O’Melia, 23, after losing control of his car on Beaverhill Road, Woodhouse, on New Year’s Eve 2008.

Friends and relatives of his two victims stormed out of Sheffield Crown Court in disgust when he was sentenced to 12 months behind bars, suspended for 18 months, in March 2010.

Judith Seaborne, Deakin-Frith’s solicitor, said he had no intention of ever driving again.

But, just two years on, he was found slumped behind the wheel of his car on Corporation Street in Sheffield city centre.

A council enforcement officer spotted his car causing a hazard at the side of the road and stopped to check on the driver.

Megan Reece, prosecuting, said he was found ‘slumped in the driver’s seat’ with ‘eyes closed’.

When the council worker woke him he had ‘difficulty focusing’ and he was stumbling and ‘rambling’, the court heard.

When he was breathalysed, three hours later, he was twice the legal drink drive limit.

The court heard Deakin-Frith was also serving another suspended prison sentence – imposed for assaulting his girlfriend during a drunken row.

Ms Seaborne, defending Deakin-Frith again, said he started drinking heavily after the fatal car crash.

She said: “Dealing with the aftermath of that, and the fact he did not go to prison for it, was a significant factor. It significantly stems from that conviction.”

Giving Deakin-Frith one ‘last chance’, Mr Recorder Tim Gittins said his latest actions had put lives at risk.

He told him: “Having consumed vast quantities of alcohol you drove your Vauxhall Astra around Sheffield city centre.There were likely to be residents and pedestrians who you would have placed at risk.”

He urged Deakin-Frith, of Standon Road, Wincobank, to seek treatment for his feelings at causing his friends’ deaths.

Mr Gittins told him: “I have read about the tragedy you were involved in.

“I am well aware they will bear very heavy on your mind. But you need to get assistance with that, rather than finding it in a bottle. You are not going to find it there.”

Deakin-Frith was banned from driving for two years, and sentenced to a 12-month community order and an unpaid work order. He was also put on a curfew which will be monitored by an electronic tag.