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Driver who killed JMU student with stolen car jailed

18/01/2011

Driver who killed university student with stolen car is jailed for nine and a half years.

A man who killed a Liverpool John Moores University student after driving a high powered Audi 4x4 the wrong way down a busy city centre street has been jailed for nine and a half years.

David Gaskell, 21, was at the wheel of a stolen Audi Q5 when he ploughed into 20 year old undergraduate Andrew O'Neill, who was from Northern Ireland.

Cameras captured Gaskell driving at speed along Dale Street, weaving in and out of oncoming cars against the flow of traffic, after speeding away from police officers.

Officers had stopped by the vehicle at 3:15am on Saturday 27 November 2010 in nearby North John Street to attempt to detain Gaskell and fellow occupants Jack Dempsey, 23, Lewis Gandy, 20, and Christopher Doyle, 24.

They managed to get Doyle out of the car and were trying to apprehend the other men when it was driven off by Gaskell with Dempsey and Gandy still inside. Dempsey managed to jump out while the car was still moving.

The car sped down North John Street then took a right onto Dale Street heading towards the Churchill Way flyover.

O'Neill was crossing the road close to Liverpool Magistrates' Court and was hit by the oncoming vehicle, which was thought to be driving at speeds of between 42 and 50 miles per hour. 

He was thrown almost 40 metres along the road and sustained massive internal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital at 4:07am that same morning.

Robert Jansen, Crown Advocate with Merseyside CPS, said: "Gaskell showed an appalling and dangerous lack of care for everyone in his path. After he sped away from police officers, he hit a taxi and narrowly missed hitting another, then drove along the pavement on Dale Street before he tragically collided with Andrew O'Neill.

"This is a terrible waste of a young life which had so much promise. Our thoughts are now with Andrew's family."

David Gaskell, 21, from Everton, was sentenced to nine and a half years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving.

Lewis Gandy, 20, from Croxteth, was sentenced to four years detention in a young offenders' institution for aggravated vehicle taking involving a fatal accident.

Jack Dempsey, 23, was sentenced to four months imprisonment for aggravated vehicle taking.

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For more information, contact Sharon King, Group Communications Manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire, on 0151 239 6465.