Lengthy jail term expected for death crash driver

Wharfedale Observer: Stephen Todd and Jennifer Osborn Stephen Todd and Jennifer Osborn

A 37-year-old man was today behind bars awaiting a long prison sentence for killing his sister and her partner in a road crash in Ilkley.

Jason Osborn asked the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, to remand him into custody straight away after he pleaded guilty yesterday to causing the deaths of Jennifer Osborn and Stephen Todd on Denton Road in the town on March 22. He will be sentenced on December 23. Miss Osborn, 35, a mother-of-three, and father-of-five, Mr Todd, 38, lived in Hampshire Close, Ilkley.

The couple, who had been together for a year, were described by their devastated families as “soulmates”.

They died together when they were passengers in a car, driven by Jason Osborn, which hit a tree in the early hours of March 22.

Osborn, of Midge Hall Close, Ilkley, wore a smart, black, open neck shirt and black trousers for his first appearance at Bradford Crown Court. He had been on bail before the hearing and he brought a bag with him to take into custody.

Duncan Ritchie, solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service, asked for the charges to be put. After Osborn had pleaded guilty to both offences of death of by dangerous driving, his barrister, Michael Greenhalgh, asked for a copy of the accident investigation report to be made available for the sentencing hearing.

Mr Greenhalgh asked the probation service to visit Osborn in prison to prepare a pre-sentence report.

“I appreciate that it is going to be a long custodial sentence. He is realistic about what is going to happen and he asks to be remanded into custody from today,” Mr Greenhalgh said.

Judge Thomas suggested a speedy conclusion to the case for the sake of Osborn himself and family members of Miss Osborn and Mr Todd.

Mr Ritchie said Osborn’s mother and other family members were in court.

Judge Thomas asked the probation service to provide him with personal details about Osborn before the sentencing date.

He told Osborn: “Inevitably, the sentence is prison but I will hear more about the case then.”

Flowers were laid at the scene in the days following the crash and tributes paid to the popular couple.

Mr Todd’s sister, Janet Nelson, of Ilkley, said at the time: “They idolised each other - they were soulmates. They were so, so happy and looking forward to living in the house and making plans for the future.”

Mr Todd grew up in Ilkley, attending Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School and Ilkley Grammar School. He worked as a car mechanic and had five children from a previous relationship.

He was a member of Hollygarth Social Club in Leeds Road where he was a keen darts player and football player. After his death, the six-a-side team he played for at St Mary’s Catholic School in Menston changed their name to Toddy’s Boys and went on to be crowned League Champions, remaining unbeaten in the league all season.

Miss Osborn, described as “bubbly” and a devoted mother, ran a small cleaning business.

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