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Driver said 'I hope I killed someone' after skipping red light and hitting woman

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A van driver who went through a red light and crashed into two moving cars, killing a 19-year-old woman, has been jailed for 10 years.

Luke Hawkes was filmed telling police after the collision: ‘I hope I killed someone. Oh well, you know what, I will get three, four, five years. Hopefully I killed them.’

The parents of Bethany Branson, who was a passenger in the first car he hit and died at the scene, described her as a ‘whirlwind’ with a ‘beautiful soul’.

Amy, Bethany’s mum, said: ‘When her godmother had cancer on Bethany’s birthday, she took her out a plate of food because she missed the party.

‘And when [her father Ben’s] dad died of Parkinson’s, she trained for a half marathon and raised £1,000. She was thoughtful, she was loved.

‘She always said when she was growing up, she was here for the good times and not the long times, and it is heartbreaking that she was right.’

Hawkes, of Bridgwater in Somerset, pleaded guilty at Taunton Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.


CCTV footage from the night of the incident on November 8 last year shows his white Ford Transit hurtling along the A38 Taunton Road in Bridgwater.

Hawkes, 28, does not stop at a red light and collides with two cars which had the right of way at the junction.

The court heard he had been involved in a minor collision at a roundabout earlier the same night.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and was also handed a driving disqualification for 12 years and seven months.

Judge Paul Cook said: ‘You can tell this was a prolonged, consistent and deliberate course of driving.

‘It was obvious that you were drunk as I have seen the state of your intoxication on a number of videos.

‘It was very clear that Bethany was a bubbly and infectious person, destined for a life of giving which has shattered the hearts of the family.

‘You created a sea of carnage and then left. You were then heard saying “I’m glad she is dead, she deserved it” and “Hopefully [you] killed someone”.’

Speaking after Hawkes was sentenced on Friday, Amy and Ben Branson said: ‘No sentence changes the fact that Bethany will never get to pursue her dreams nor will she get to live out her life as she should have been able to.

‘This month, she was due to move into her first home – the start of the next chapter of her life. This has cruelly been taken from her.’

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