Leicestershire woman guilty of teenage road deaths

21/03/2016

A Leicestershire woman has been found guilty of causing the deaths of her teenage daughter and another young woman through careless driving while unfit through drugs.

Anastasia James was driving back to Leicester from a family party in London, when she lost control of her car on the M1 in south Leicestershire. Destiny James-Keeling, aged 14. and 18-year-old Megan Marchant were killed instantly when the car left the road. Ms James and her son, who was also travelling in the car at the time, survived the crash. The first police officer on the scene smelled cannabis in the vehicle and Ms James tested positive for cannabis use. The investigation revealed that there were no defects with the car or the road that caused the car to veer off the road. The crash was caused by the driver losing control.

Ms James did not dispute any of the evidence in the case, but maintained a plea of not guilty. She was tried at Leicester Crown Court and found guilty by the jury.

Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands, said: "This is a tragic case that has left two families grieving.  Anastasia James clearly would not have wanted this to happen, but there can be no escaping the fact that her actions caused the deaths of Destiny and Megan. Their deaths were avoidable. She knew that she would be driving and yet she chose to use cannabis, which could, and did, impair her driving. As a result of her choices and actions, two young people lost their lives.

"I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to all those who knew and loved the two girls and hope that the conclusion of these proceedings will in some way help them move on in their lives."

Ms James will be sentenced next month.