Two brothers who were involved in a crash that killed four people after taunting police on social media were part of a “miserably inadequate group of deeply malevolent local criminals”, a judge has said.
Elliott Bower, 19, was sentenced at Doncaster Crown Court to 11-and-a-half years detention for causing the deaths during a high-speed chase in a stolen car while on the run.
His brother Declan Bower, 23, and passenger Mason Cartledge, now 18, were each sentenced to seven years and 10 months for their involvement in the crash in Sheffield in November.
The Bower brothers were wanted by police at the time of the crash involving a people carrier containing seven people and had earlier posted a picture of themselves on social media with the caption “f*** da police”.
The driver of the people carrier, Adnan Ashraf Jarral, 35, died along with his son, Muhammed Usman Bin Adnan, who was just 16 months old , and a married couple – Vlasta Dunova, 41, and Miroslav Duna, 50.
Sentencing the defendants, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, Recorder of Sheffield, said: “Each one of you thinks of himself as a local villain who enjoys committing crime.
“Two of you, the Bower brothers, both enjoy taunting the police.
“In truth, you are nothing more than a somewhat miserably inadequate group of deeply malevolent local criminals.”
The judge added that the defendants existed in a “swamp of professional criminal activity”.
The court heard they all had a string of previous convictions and, at the time of the crash on November 9, Elliott Bower was the subject of a warrant issued for failing to appear at court for breaching a suspended sentence for burglary.
The social media post, which showed the brothers “grinning inanely”, with Elliott Bower holding up his middle finger, was described by prosecutor Richard Wright QC as a “deliberate and gratuitous taunt” to police.
After the crash, he told arresting officers: “You can remand me if you like, I’ll get out and I’ll do bang the same thing again and you lot will have to chase me.”
On the evening of the crash, he drove a Volkswagen Golf, which had been stolen a few days earlier and fitted with different number plates, through built-up areas of Sheffield at more than 100mph after being identified by police.
He led a marked police vehicle on a five-minute chase over nearly six miles, in dark and wet conditions, during which he drove on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend and drove the wrong way around a roundabout.
Video footage taken from the police car showed the vehicle struggling to keep up with the Golf, despite travelling at speeds of up to 103mph.
Judge Richardson said the incident was “one of the worst examples of dangerous driving it has been my misfortune to consider”.
He added: “It was both chilling and breath-taking in its horror.”
The chase ended when the Golf ploughed into a Volkswagen Touran, driven by Mr Jarral, at 79mph, instantly killing four of the people in the Touran.
Elliott Bower and Cartledge left the Golf in an attempt to run away but were detained at the scene.
Emergency services found Declan Bower trapped in the car with a broken leg and wrist, smoking a cigarette.
Judge Richardson commended the police officer driving in pursuit of the Golf and said the blame was shared between the defendants who took a “high level” of risk to evade police.
The Touran contained members of two families who were yards from home when the collision occurred as Mr Jarral was turning right on to a residential street in the Darnall area.
There was “virtually nothing left” of the driver’s seat or rear passenger seat after the collision, the force of which drove the people carrier 33 metres along the road, colliding with three other vehicles and turning 360 degrees.
The three survivors – Mr Jarral’s wife Erica Kroscenova, Ms Dunova and Mr Duna’s 22-year-old daughter Nikola Dunova and her three-year-old daughter Livia Matova – were all seriously injured.
In a victim impact statement read to the court Mrs Kroscenova said: “We didn’t deserve this and we lost loved ones.
“I lost my baby boy, who gave me strength and appetite for life every day. I miss his smile, I miss his voice, I never heard him calling me mummy, the only word he said was daddy.”
She described her husband as a “great father and husband”.
She said: “He was a wise man and I loved him very much. I miss him more and more each and every day.”
Judge Richardson told the defendants: “You have visited a catastrophe of the highest magnitude on two families.”
Elliott Bower admitted four counts of causing death by dangerous and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Declan Bower and Cartledge pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking in which death was caused.
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