Neath Drunk Driver Jailed Over Fatal Crash

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Nicholas Darkes fled a car crash to leave his best friend to die in the wreckage.

The jury were told the learner driver was branded a "coward" for running off leaving friend Adam McGuire and his own father in his crumpled car.

Adam, 36, died at the scene while and Darkes' father Neil, 50, suffered fractures to his neck and ribs.

The court heard the three men had been drinking pints of cider together at a hotel bar before they got into Darkes' blue Ford Focus.

26 year old Darkes - who only had a provisional driving licence - was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit and driving at up to 70mph on the 30mph road at Caerau, Maesteg.

He lost control  to hit a parked car before spinning and slamming into another car in the opposite lane.

Witnesses saw him then climb out of a car window and flee the scene on foot - leaving his motionless passengers behind.

Prosecutor David Pugh said Darkes ran into the garden of a nearby home where he stripped off his clothes to hide evidence of the crash.

Mr Pugh said: "Darkes was seen jogging from the scene.

"He was then seen on CCTV simply wearing his underwear and shoes. He had a bundle of his clothes in his hands which he then put into a container in the garden."

Darkes then went to a friend's house where he explained the crash before he changed into borrowed clothes and smoked cannabis.

Darkes said to his friends: "I've crashed the car. I don't know if my father or Adam got out."

But the friends told Adam McGuire's brother, Ryan, who drove to the scene and found his brother was dead.

Mr McGuire told Cardiff Crown Court he thought Darkes was "a coward".

He said: "I've known him since I was a young boy, and considered him a family friend up until the day he killed my brother Adam.

"I cannot even understand how you ran away from the scene and left my brother to die all alone.

"You left your own father alone and you ran. You ran like a coward.

"I cannot express the anger and hate I have for you."

Darkes was estimated to have been driving between 60mph and 70mph when he crashed on January 10.

He was two-and-a-half times over the drink drive limit, and had no L plates on his car.

The court heard Darkes had been previously banned in 2011 for drink driving.

He admitted to causing death by careless driving at court and sobbed in the dock.

Judge Eleri Rees said: "You demonstrated no concern for the welfare of your passengers.

"I've no doubt the guilt which could and should remain with you for the whole of your life."

Darkes was jailed for six years and banned from driving for nine years.

More from Local