Families’ world ‘changed forever’ when daughters were killed by dangerous driver

A man has been sentenced for causing the deaths of two women following a collision in Dunkirk, near Ellesmere Port.

Benjamin Lewis appeared at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday, 8 May, where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He was also banned from driving for four years after his release from prison.

The 31-year-old of West Vale, Neston, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving at an earlier hearing.

The court heard how at around 9.30pm on Thursday, 25 November 2021, Lewis had been driving at speeds of up to 93mph in a 60mph zone on the A5117 in Dunkirk when he lost control of his BMW 420D.

He collided with a Citroen DS3 travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver of the Citroen, Ellie Crossley, was travelling to Cheshire Oaks with her friend, Rebecca Doughty, who was sitting in the front passenger seat.

Sadly, Ellie and Rebecca both died at the scene as a result of their injuries sustained during the collision.

Ellie and Rebecca’s families are understandably devastated and have said, “The 25th of November 2021 is the day that our lives and world changed forever after receiving the worst imaginable news that our loving daughters Ellie and Becca were killed instantly in a head on collision.

“Ellie and Becca had been best friends since primary school and were inseparable and had their whole lives ahead of them.

“They were two of the most caring, funny, and thoughtful young women who brought so much brightness and love to our world.

“In their short lives, our daughters created so many special memories with their families and friends, and we will continue to treasure those memories each and every single day.

“To our beautiful Angels…you are deeply missed by your loving families, and everyone else whose lives you touched with your warmth and kindness.”

Following the collision, an investigation was launched by the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit at Cheshire Police.

As part of their enquiries, a forensic collision investigator was enlisted to reconstruct the collision and the events leading up to it in order to establish the circumstances.

This identified that Lewis had driven his BMW crossing the double solid white lines and entered into the opposite lane when he collided with the Citroen that was travelling toward it.

Lewis was arrested and subsequently charged with two counts of death by dangerous driving.

He had initially pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of death by careless driving, however the prosecution refused to accept his guilty plea and a trial was listed for September 2023.

He later changed his guilty pleas to the more serious charge.

Following the sentencing Sergeant Andy Dennison, of the Cheshire police Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said, “Despite the poor weather conditions and low visibility, Lewis proceeded to speed in excess of 90mph with no regard to the danger he posed to other road users or himself.

“During the investigation, we utilised data collected by global satellites connected to electronic devices to show that Lewis had driven at high speed on several roads just before the collision. It was also shown that on entering the A5117, despite the terrible weather conditions, Lewis accelerated harshly up past 90 mph before losing control of his BMW on the wrong side of a double white line system.

“Tragically, as a result of his atrocious driving, Ellie and Rebecca paid the ultimate price, and I hope he takes this time behind bars to reflect on the decisions he made that night and the impact this has had on the families of the victims.

“I cannot begin to imagine the devastating loss that both Ellie and Rebecca’s families have had to endure throughout this long and painful process, and I sincerely hope today’s result will provide some closure.

“Lewis refused to acknowledge the severity of the charges but once he realised the mountain of evidence that was stacked against him, he admitted his dangerous driving had cost two young women their lives.

“This has been an extremely challenging and complex investigation, and I’d like to thank all of the dedicated officers involved in securing justice for Ellie and Rebecca.

“While this result will not bring back Ellie and Rebecca to their families, I hope this sends a message to others about the consequences of driving at high speed.”

Image: Family handout

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