Ilkley drink-driver who killed sister jailed

Wharfedale Observer: Jason Osborn Jason Osborn

A drink-driver who lost control of his car at high speed on a country road and smashed into a tree killing his sister and her partner has been jailed for five years.

Jason Osborn had downed about 11 pints of lager before getting behind the wheel to give Jenny Osborn and Stephen Todd a lift in the early hours of March 22.

Osborn, 38, pleaded guilty on December 11 to causing their deaths by dangerous driving and was remanded in custody at his own request.

Yesterday he was back at Bradford Crown Court to be sentenced for killing his popular sister and her much-loved partner, leaving eight children to mourn the loss of one of their parents.

Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said Osborn was about twice the legal alcohol limit and going at up to 70mph when he lost control of his Hyundai Coupe on a bend while travelling along Denton Road from Ilkley towards Otley.

He had been drinking with the couple at the Holly Garth Club in Ilkley before moving on to the Dalesway Hotel public house in the town. Mr Ritchie said staff at the club and pub estimated he had downed about 11 pints that night.

At 3.33am, Osborn, of Midge Hall Close, Ilkley, called the emergency services to say he was in a car crash but did not know his exact location.

He did not mention that he had passengers in the car with him.

Police searching for the car found him trapped in the driver’s seat.

Mr Todd, 38, a car mechanic, and the father of five children, and Miss Osborn, 34, a mother-of-three, were dead in the vehicle.

None of the three occupants of the car had been wearing seat belts.

Asked at the scene if he had been drinking, Osborn replied: “F***ing shit-loads,” Mr Ritchie said.

Accident investigators found that the car was negotiating a sweeping bend when it crossed the road, struck the kerb and then hit a fence and a tree.

The speedometer was broken and frozen at 80mph, Mr Ritchie stated.

He said the best estimate of the speed of the car was 69mph.

Mr Ritchie said Janine Osborn, mother of Jenny Osborn and the defendant, was in court with family members.

She told the police of her shock and turmoil caused by the couple’s deaths, describing the situation as “a nightmare”.

Mr Todd’s father, Malcolm Todd, said his son’s death left emptiness in the hearts of family and friends and that “a part of me has gone forever”.

The court heard that Osborn, a former coach driver, had been drinking heavily since he was a teenager.

In 1995, he was convicted of drink-driving and sentenced to two months’ detention in a young offender institution.

His barrister, Michael Greenhalgh, said: “Nothing I can say can adequately express the remorse Mr Osborn feels at what happened.”

He knew he had drunk too much to drive and he had damaged people very close to him.

He had been helping the couple renovate their home in Hampshire Close, Ilkley, and they went out socialising after the work was completed.

He suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs, a broken foot and a punctured lung in the crash.

Osborn asked to be remanded behind bars because he felt his presence was causing his family anxiety and he wanted to be “out of the picture” over Christmas.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, told Osborn: “You were about twice the limit when you drove and caused this terrible accident.

“Whatever sentence I pass today it cannot ever put the clock back and return to life these people who are now dead.”

Osborn was banned from driving for ten years.

Judge Thomas expressed his full sympathy to family members in the public gallery.

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