Apprentice who crashed late brother’s car ran away as he feared mum’s reaction

BROTHER: Craig Westhorp
BROTHER: Craig Westhorp

AN APPRENTICE crashed his late brother’s car then fled the scene for fear of the reaction from his mum.

Reece Westhorp had just been insured when he crashed the Vauxhall Vectra, which was of sentimental value to his family as it belonged to his older brother Craig Westhorp who died in a house fire in May 2011.

Aspiring fireman Craig, 20, was tragically killed in the accidental and ferocious blaze in Formby Close, in the Clavering area of Hartlepool, which was sparked by an unattended chip pan catching fire following a family Christening.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard that Reece Westhorpe was driving his sibling’s car to do some friends a favour by giving them a lift.

But the 20-year-old lost control of the vehicle near to Formby Close, close to a roundabout with Easington Road and Woodstock Way, due to the damp conditions.

The force of the smash “demolished some railings and a small newly-planted tree, and left tyre tracks in the grass”, prosecutor Alan Davison told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court.

He added: “The defendant wasn’t aware of his responsibility to report the matter, and fled the scene because he was too frightened to face his mother’s reaction to crashing the car.

“Police received a report of a single vehicle collision at 2.45am and when they arrived saw a Vauxhall Vectra on some grass close to the roundabout.”

Westhorp, of Formby Close, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident, and failing to report an accident on August 2.

Mitigating, Sunny Singh Thandi, said: “The defendant does admit that he was driving that evening and he lost control and ploughed into some metal railings and a tree.

“He says that the ground was particularly damp and he lost control.

“He fully accepts responsibility for that.

“He was driving that evening to help some friends out giving them a lift.

“After the incident, he admits he was frightened and upset and scared.

“The reason he was scared is because the car actually belonged to his late brother who passed away in 2011, and it is of sentimental value to the family.

“He was scared of the reaction from his mother.”

The court heard that the defendant returned to the scene of the crash and phoned a friend to arrange removal the car the following day.

But when they turned up it had already been recovered by police and a removal firm.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Doreen Goode fined the apprentice fabricator £240, added seven points to his licence and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £24 victim surcharge.