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Lara Smith's drug-drive killer locked up
10:00am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in Evesham
A DRUG-driver who fell asleep at the wheel killing his 17-year-old girl passenger in a high-speed crash was jailed for seven-and-a-half years yesterday.
Matthew Norcott, aged 27, of Furlong Road, Pershore, was under the influence of ecstasy and had only five-and-a-half hours sleep in the previous 47 hours when he hit a central reservation on a dual carriageway at 83 miles an hour as they headed to a party.
The Ford Fiesta rolled over five or six times, throwing 17-year-old Lara Smith , of Bowbrook Cottages, Peopleton, near Pershore, into a field, before it ended up on its roof in a ditch.
The crash happened at 6.50am on Sunday, November 13, on the A421 at Lidlington in Bedfordshire.
The car drifted into the concrete barrier that separates on-coming traffic.
It veered to the side of the road and turned over onto its roof.
Lara, a back seat passenger, suffered severe injuries and died at 10.48am that morning. The other passengers, Jack Brant and John Long, were treated for minor injuries.
Bricklayer and farm worker Norcott had a broken elbow. Thirteen ecstasy tablets were found on him.
Peter Shaw, prosecuting, said that at 1am that morning, Norcott’s girlfriend had driven him and Mr Brant to Bristol.
The defendant drove back at 3am, arriving in Pershore at 4am. After dropping off his girlfriend, he picked up John Long and Lara Smith. They drove towards a party at Baldock in Hertfordshire.
“Mr Brant heard someone from the back shouting and he turned to look out to see the car veering across the lanes towards the crash barrier.
“He looked at the defendant and saw his head ‘hanging down’ and apparently asleep. Mr Brant tried to grab hold of the steering wheel. However, the car hit the central reservation,” said Mr Shaw.
The Fiesta rolled five or six times before coming to rest upside down in the ditch.
Police arrived and saw Norcott in shock and bleeding from a head wound.
The prosecutor said Norcott’s blood had a concentration of ecstasy greater than 0.32mg per litre, a “reasonably high dose”.
The text messages on his phone revealed he had been drug-dealing.
Norcott pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving while unfit through drugs, causing death while uninsured and possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.
He had five convictions for 11 offences and three cautions, including driving with excess alcohol and driving while disqualified, possessing ecstasy and having no insurance.
Derek Johashen, defending, said Lara had been a family friend and he remembered holding her as a baby when he was 10 years old.
He said: “He says he deserves to go to custody. He treated her as a younger sister he never had.
“His own ridiculously bad behaviour led to her demise.”
Mr Johashen went on to say Norcott had raised £1,500 in Lara’s memory.
Judge Baker said no sentence could replace a life which was “immeasurably valuable”.