A cocaine-driven driver who killed a university graduate while driving the wrong way on a main road has been convicted.
He was driving a stolen white van, Ashley Loveday, 39, was speeding down the A13 in east London on November 25 last year when he collided with an Uber.
Collided into a Toyota Prius with University of Kent graduate student Grace Payne, 21, traveling at 71mph while being chased by police.
Payne, who had just started working for an architectural firm, died instantly.
The Uber driver, 59-year-old Sundar Ali, suffered serious, life-changing injuries but survived.
Loveday appeared at London’s Old Bailey today and showed no emotion as Judge Mark Dennis KC sentenced him to 14 years in prison for causing death by dangerous driving, two years and eight months in prison for causing serious injury by dangerous driving and breaking into a vehicle . run parallel.
The judge said: “Your actions on that fateful night last November consisted of driving at the highest level of danger to others in a prolonged and determined course of dangerous driving, leaving two victims in your wake.
“This has caused untold anguish for many and irreparable damage.
“Perhaps it was pure coincidence that the others did not suffer at one stage or another of this terrible ride.”
“This catastrophic collision was the culmination of the defendant’s very dangerous driving for almost six miles,” he added.
Around 2:00 a.m., Payne booked a can on the ride-sharing app on her way home to Upminster from a party.
Loveday, who had never passed his driving test, became involved in a high-speed police chase when he was caught by a license plate recognition camera.
He was behind the wheel of a Peugeot Boxer van stolen from Dockside Road, Canning Town on 18 October 2022. It had a fake number plate and was used to steal other vehicles.
Peter Ratliff, the prosecutor, told the court: “The defendant was traveling at approximately 75 mph, on the road with a 40 mph speed limit, then 30 mph.”
The toxicology report found that Loveday had four times the “specified driving limit” of cocaine.
At 70 miles per hour, Loveday took the wrong turn at the roundabout, going through red lights and a crosswalk, before screeching tires onto the A13.
One of the officers who followed Loveday said: “I cannot discount at this point how dangerous it was to drive the vehicle in question.
“At certain times I would estimate his speed to be around 90 mph, if not more,” he added, having police records showing that Loveday was traveling at 112 mph.
Ratliff said: “The defendant, however, lost the police chase, but nevertheless continued driving in the most dangerous and previously unimaginable way.
“The defendant’s vehicle was traveling the wrong way on the A13 for more than a minute and 40 seconds and had covered more than 2.53km when it collided head-on with Sundara Ali’s Toyota Prius.”
The stolen Van Loveday “flew up” before landing on its side.
Ratliff said Payne was found “falling into the seat with her seat belt fastened” with “serious abdominal trauma” – injuries that paramedics deemed “insurvivable”.
“At 2:58 a.m., the decision was made to stop resuscitation because it was clear that she had died,” he said.
“Sundar Ali was gasping for breath and his hands were clenched unnaturally,” Ratliff added.
Ali’s life has been turned upside down by an accident. He was taken to the hospital with a damaged spleen and a broken collarbone, left arm bone and right thumb bone.
The driver’s brain function is now impaired, and headaches and absent-mindedness are now part of Ali’s daily life.
Not only has he lost his income as he can no longer work as a taxi driver, but also his strength – Ali can’t lift objects or perform many daily activities.
“The psychological impact on him was significant, mainly caused by the feeling of what happened to his passenger Grace Payne,” he said.
“He believes he’s been significantly traumatized by flashbacks, nightmares, and the like.”
Loveday suffered a broken nose, broken ribs, and broken pelvis, and has since recovered.
Payne’s parents said in a statement: “Grace’s death has devastated her family. They still can’t get over the fact that Grace will never come home.
“She was caring, compassionate, bright and energetic and could brighten their day. She made everyone in the room happy.
Her family added that Grace had blossomed since lockdown ended and hoped to retrain as an elementary school teacher.
“She was the one who looked after everyone else, making sure everyone got home safely,” they added.
“Tragic that she never made it home.
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