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Drunk learner driver is jailed for killing 23-year-old passenger

Learner driver who was drunk, speeding and uninsured is jailed for crash that killed 23-year-old passenger who had been orphaned when her own mother died in car wreck aged 16

  •  Aron Dunn, 30, was drunk and speeding when he crashed in May last year
  •  His passenger Jade Elliott-Davis, 23, suffered fatal head and chest injuries
  •  The pair were returning home in Dorset when Dunn lost control of the car
  • Dunn was sentenced to 30 months in prison and is disqualified for four years

A drunk driver with a provisional licence who killed his partner’s cousin when he lost control and crashed into a tree has been jailed for two and a half years.

Aron Dunn, 30, was drunk, speeding, uninsured and only held a provisional licence when he crashed on May 1 last year.

His passenger Jade Elliott-Davis, 23, was in the back seat and suffered fatal head and chest injuries.

The court heard that Jade’s mother Lisa had also died in a road accident, aged 16, when Jade was just a baby and she had been raised by her grandmother.

Witnesses described being concerned by Dunn’s driving just before the crash with one predicting ‘he’ll hit a tree in a minute’ as he overtook them, just before a bend in the road that Dunn lost control on.

Jade Elliott-Davis, 23, was in the back seat of Dunn’s car and suffered fatal head and chest injuries

Bournemouth Crown Court heard Dunn was in a relationship with Miss Elliott-Davis’ cousin, Leila-Marie Davis. 

The cousins had fallen out over a ‘trivial matter’ and arranged to meet up to resolve it on May 1 last year.

They were returning to their homes in Gillingham, Dorset, when the crash happened at about 8.15pm on the B3081.

Dunn and Davis were injured in the crash and taken to Salisbury District Hospital.

Dunn’s blood test was not taken until some five hours after the crash, but police calculated the reading meant he would have been over the limit at the time of accident and that the level would have ‘significantly impaired’ his ability to drive.

The court heard Dunn had only bought the car two days before the crash and had not got insurance. 

He had a provisional licence but did not have L plates on the car and the two young women were not qualified drivers able to accompany a learner.

Aron Simon James Dunn, 30,  was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court today to two and half years in prison after admitting to causing death by dangerous driving

Stuart Ellacott, prosecuting, said: ‘Prior to the crash, seconds before Ms Seluka and her family were driving around 50mph because of the bend. 

‘As they approached the bend she describes being overtaken by the defendant.

‘Her husband said ‘slow down, he will hit a tree in a minute’. She said he was going 15-20mph faster than her.

‘As she came round the corner she saw what they had predicted.

‘The vehicle hit the tree and bounced back into the road. It was fortunate Mr Blake, driving the opposite direction, had not left home a minute or two earlier. He saw the vehicle bouncing into his ride of the road and was able to stop.

‘Jade was removed from the back of the vehicle and people tried to help her, carrying out chest compression, but she suffered injuries which were unfortunately unsurvivable.

‘The defendant was trapped in the vehicle with a leg injury.

‘He told police he had lost control at speed, he said about 70mph, and admitted he had drunk alcohol prior to driving.’

He also read a statement from Jade’s grandmother, Mary Elliott-Davis, who said: ‘I formally adopted her when she was two. It was hard seeing her growing up without her mother but I gave her the best childhood I could.

‘She was my life. My entire world has been turned upside down.

‘I am so proud of who she was and what she achieved in her short life. My home feels empty and so does my heart.

‘I wish Jade had never got into that car, the world is a far less happy place without Jade.’

The court heard Miss Davis has stood by Dunn, who is the father of two of her three children, and has been cut off from her family because of it.

Tom Evans, defending, said: ‘My client didn’t set out to cause this type of hurt, but his offending has caused unimaginable pain to the family of his victim and that includes his own partner.

‘She has been punished many times over. She was actually involved in the accident, had to cope with the loss of her cousin and had to cope with her decision to remain with the defendant which meant her own grandmother has severed ties with her.

‘There will be a significant impact on someone who is wholly innocent.

‘Those who saw his driving were concerned and had an ominous feeling but none of them felt it necessary to contact the police, he appeared to be in control up to that point, albeit driving stupidly and recklessly.’

He also said Dunn had been mentally and physically affected, requiring several surgeries on his broken leg, and attempting to take his own life in the aftermath.

Judge Stephen Climie said he would consider Dunn a man of good character as he only had ‘minor blemishes’ on his record from when he was a teenager.

He said: ‘That good character is totally lost as a result of the circumstances on May 1.

‘You chose to get into a car you had acquired in the previous 72 hours, you were uninsured with only a provisional licence. Those are significantly aggravating features and add to that you were under the influence of alcohol.

‘You have driven in a way which amounts to dangerous driving. Any reasonable driver would not have contemplated overtaking coming into that corner.’

He sentenced Dunn to 30 months in prison and disqualified him from driving for four years.

Dunn admitted causing death by dangerous driving in his Audi A6 Allroad.

PC Leanne Howes, of the Dorset Police traffic unit, said: ‘Our thoughts go out to the family of Jade, whose young life was tragically cut short by this collision.

‘Nothing will ever make up for their loss, but our investigation team has worked tirelessly to establish the full facts of this collision and compile evidence so we could hold Aron Dunn to account for his actions on the evening of Saturday 1 May, 2021.

‘This case is yet another sad reminder of the truly devastating consequences that can occur when motorists such as Aron Dunn drive with disregard for the safety of themselves and others while their judgement is impaired by alcohol consumption.’

Following the sentencing hearing, Jade’s grandmother, who legally adopted her when she was two, issued a tribute saying: ‘After losing Jade we are heartbroken, Jade was the light of my life, she has a smile that would light up a room, she was so kind and honest and would help anyone in need.

‘A day doesn’t go by when I say she should be here, she was only 23 and had her whole life in front of her. It was taken away with no goodbyes, she will be forever missed and loved always.

‘I am left with an empty space where she should be, and nothing will ever fill that space in our hearts or our home.’

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