Judge detains Walsall death crash teenager

A 16-year-old boy who was speeding when the car he was driving crashed and killed his 17-year-old passenger has been detained for more than three years.

Wolverhampton Crown Court
Wolverhampton Crown Court

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was driving a Volkswagen Golf without a license or insurance – at speeds of up to 52mph – when his car crashed into parked cars in Weston Street, Walsall, on August 3.

His passenger Liam Ball, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, died just two hours later in hospital. Two other passengers, a pair of 14-year-old girls, were also injured.

Wolverhampton Crown Court heard the defendant fled the scene following the crash, running around the corner to another street.

He was arrested by police days later, but not before shaving his head and face – an act his defence barrister insisted was not to evade being caught.

CCTV showed the boy was travelling at speeds of up to 52mph in a 30mph zone just before the impact. Sentencing him yesterday, Judge Nawaz said it appeared there was ‘an element of showing off’ in play.

He placed him in detention for 38 months, and banned him from driving for six years and seven months.

In a victim impact statement, Liam’s grandmother called her grandson the ‘most caring young man’.


“Liam was definitely loving life like any other teenage boy. But this boy was different. He was his mother’s right arm, his younger brother’s idol," she said.

"His smile and cheekiness lit up the darkest of rooms. He was a talented barber who had the world at his hair covered feet. He had big dreams and a baby brother due in a few weeks who he will never meet.”

In a note addressed to Liam’s family, the young defendant said himself: “I’m truly sorry for the hurt I have caused everyone by my stupidity.”

He had pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving, driving without a licence, no insurance and failing to stop at the scene at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court in August.

Judge Nawaz told the court: “Nothing I can do can ever put the matter right for Liam Ball’s family.

“They have lost the opportunity to see him grow into a man, a father and to be there into their senior years.”

The defendant will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence.

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