Two drivers who caused the death of a beloved grandmother days before Christmas, as they raced along a valleys road at speeds of up to 100mph, have today been jailed.
Witnesses described seeing Levi Edwards and Morgan Sansom “driving like idiots” shortly before Edwards lost control of his red BMW and collided with a car being driven by 84-year-old Shirley Hope on the afternoon of December 20, 2019.
As Mrs Hope lay dying at the scene of the collision on Rhigos Road, Hirwaun, Sansom drove off in his white BMW, briefly returning and leaving again before emergency services arrived.
Edwards was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
He told arresting officers: “So I think I’ve come round the corner. I’ve slid, my wheel has hit the kerb. My back end has come out, and she’s hit me side on. I think my back end has come out first.”
Sansom was later arrested at his home in Hirwaun, on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop and report following a collision. He told arresting officers: “I did turn around and come back.”
In interview he told officers he returned to the scene of the collision where he alleges he was told that Mrs Hope was still alive so he returned home.
Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard, however, that prior to doing so and while others at the scene were trying to tend to the victim, callous Sansom took a photograph of the destruction, which he later posted to Snapchat with the caption ’Bad crash’.
At an earlier hearing on October 8 this year, both Edwards, 27, and Sansom, 23, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.
Today, Edwards was jailed for six years, while Sansom was jailed for six years and three months. Both were also disqualified from driving; Edwards for six years and Sansom for six years, one month.
In a statement on behalf of the family, Mrs Hope's devastated children said:
"Our family would like to thank South Wales Police for their hard work in bringing about justice for our mother today.
"A special thanks to the investigating officers Lee and Guy and our Family Liaison Officer, Nerys.
"The defendants, Levi Edwards and Morgan Sansom, have never shown any remorse for killing our mother.
"We are satisfied that they will now have plenty of time to reflect on their crimes whilst serving time in prison."
Following sentencing, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Sergeant Lee Christer said:
“Cars in the hands of irresponsible and reckless drivers, are quite literally lethal weapons, as so tragically proved the case on December 20, 2019.
“Levi Edwards and Morgan Sansom raced their cars that day with absolutely no regard for the laws of the road or for the safety of other road users. Their decision to use the roads as a racetrack cost a beloved grandmother her life and destroyed the lives of so many others.
“I would like to pay tribute to Shirley Hope’s family, who have shown tremendous strength and dignity during what has been a lengthy and complex investigation.
“Extensive CCTV enquiries, phone work and forensic analysis were carried out in this case in order to disprove many of the claims made by the defendants and prove their guilt. That coupled with the impact of Covid19 on the judicial process has meant Mrs Hope’s family have waited a long time to see justice served.
“I hope today’s outcome affords them some comfort as they begin to rebuild their lives.”