Two learner drivers jailed for causing death of Ella Smith

TWO learner drivers have been jailed for 10 years after their ‘stupidity and arrogance’ caused the death of a ‘beautiful and kind’ carer.

Ella Smith’s family spoke out in court to explain the devastation and lasting impact the actions of Jago Clarke and Emma Price had on their lives, as the pair were sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The court had heard how Clarke was driving Ella’s car on June 13, 2021, when he crashed into an oncoming vehicle. An investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police was able to prove he was driving competitively with Emma Price as they made their way home from Broadhaven Beach.

Tragically, Ella died at the scene of the crash, which her dad Adrian attended as an on duty fire fighter – an experience he said ‘haunts’ him.

Describing his daughter as having ‘a beautiful smile, infectious giggle and a pure heart’, Adrian spoke in court about the ‘enormous pain’ he feels having lost her.

“Ella was 21, she had her life ahead of her and has lost so much,” he said.

“She will never have the chance to get married, I will never be able to walk her down the aisle, she will never get the chance to look amazing in her wedding dress. Ella will never become a mum and I will never be a grandfather to Ella’s children.”

“I miss and yearn for Ella every day, for a cuddle, for a chat, for a random conversation,” he added. “The closest I get now is a conversation each morning and each evening with her ashes, where we discuss my day and I tell her I love her, give her photograph a kiss and tell her she is the brightest star in the sky.”

The court heard how 21-year-olds Clarke and Price were seen swerving their vehicles and driving dangerously after leaving the beach. Ella had not spent the day with the group, but had gone to Broadhaven that evening when Clarke asked her for a lift. Her devastated family do not know why he was driving her car when he careered into another vehicle.

The collision also caused serious injuries to the passenger in the other car. Daisy Buck – she will also be reading out a VPS in court.

The blue Citroen being driven by Price was not physically involved in the collision, however a lengthy investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police proved the manner of her driving was sufficient to be charged with causing Ella’s death.

Sergeant Sara John, of the force’s Serious Collision Unit, said: “This has been an extremely complex and investigation from the outset, which required us to obtain telematics data from manufacturers in Italy. This line of enquiry was time consuming but crucial in proving that both Clarke and Price were driving competitively, and ultimately driving dangerously at the point of impact.

This case is yet again another example of the tragedy inflicted on families by the sheer arrogance and stupidity of dangerous drivers. Both Clarke and Price displayed a flagrant disregard for the safety of other road users that day, a decision which cost Ella her life and destroyed the lives of her family. The collision also resulted in Daisy Buck sustaining serious injuries which will impact her for the rest of her life.”

Both Clarke, of Sunningdale Drive, Hubberston, Milford Haven, and Price, of Holloway, Haverfordwest, were found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Swansea Crown Court. Price was also found guilty of causing death by driving while unlicensed and uninsured.

Today, they were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Before the sentence was imposed, Ella’s mum Maria Smith spoke directly to the defendants, saying: “You knew little of Ella, but you knew you could manipulate and take advantage of my daughter who was kind, considerate and helpful.

“Ella was with you both for approximately 10 minutes of her 21 years of life, and your actions, your stupidity and arrogance have killed her.

“You have robbed us of our darling girl and her future, robbed her of happiness and altered our lives in a way we will never recover from.”

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