Jail for men in Burnley car smash horror

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TWO drunken men involved in an “horrendous” stolen car smash which could have led to “one or more deaths” have been locked up.

Burnley Crown Court heard Martin Carroll (29) and Andrew McManus (24) had been in a Citroen Picasso when it mounted the kerb, almost hit two women, and crashed into two cars in Rosegrove Lane, last July 30th.

Carroll, who had taken the vehicle after asking its owner to get him a taxi, was found slumped in the passenger footwell, and was taken to hospital, suffering concussion.

Neither he nor McManus owned up to driving at the time of the collision, which left a scene of devastation.

The court was told the vehicles, one of which belonged to a woman who knew McManus, were written off in the afternoon incident.

Carroll, of Harold Avenue, Burnley, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, and was jailed for a year.

McManus, of Piccadilly Road, Burnley, admitted allowing himself to be carried in a vehicle taken without consent, and had been committed for sentence by the town’s magistrates. He was sent to prison for nine months, and both defendants were banned for three years.

Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said the Picasso owner was washing the vehicle when Carroll asked him to phone him a taxi.

He did, and the defendant drove off in the car, clipping the gatepost.

He sped into the main road, on the wrong side, causing other vehicles to slam their brakes on.

At some point, McManus got in and the car was driven to Rosegrove Lane, where two women were standing outside a chemist’s shop as it careered round the corner.

Miss Statham said both had to leap out of the way to avoid being hit, and the Citroen then smashed into a Mondeo, and shunted that into a Clio.

Carroll was taken from the vehicle and taken to hospital. He had 52 previous convictions, while his co-defendant had 11 offences on his record.

Carroll’s solicitor Richard Taylor said his client expressed remorse.

The taking of the car was opportunistic. The solicitor added: “He says he regrets this more than anything.”

McManus’ solicitor Joe Boyd said it had never been suggested he was the driver.

McManus, who has a child, had been very drunk, and got in the vehicle moments before the crash.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell said there was no suggestion there was anybody in the vehicle other than the defendants.

He told the pair: “Only you and each of you will know who was actually driving.”

The judge said the women narrowly missed being “wiped out” by the vehicle.

He continued: “It could have led to one or more deaths. It was purely good fortune that did not happen.”