Driver denies causing fatal crash

A young driver has denied causing the deaths of five people, including three teenage girls from Lowestoft, in a crash on the A12 in Suffolk.

A young driver has denied causing the deaths of five people, including three teenage girls from Lowestoft, in a crash on the A12 in Suffolk.

Ben Morphey, 22, made his not guilty pleas to five counts of causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday and will stand trial in June next year.

The two-car collision, which happened on July 1 at Blythburgh, near Southwold, claimed the lives of Lowestoft sisters Claire and Jennifer Stoddart, aged 18 and 15 respectively, and their friend Carla Took, 17.

The other victims were Simon Bonner, 40, and Kim Abbott, 41, both from Yoxford, who were passengers in the Renault Laguna it is alleged Morphey was driving.

Judge John Devaux ruled that Morphey, of High Street, Yoxford, could continue to

be released on bail until his trial.

Most Read

Yesterday's hearing took place as it emerged the parents of A-level students Claire and Carla had helped set up a memorial fund to help other teenagers in further education.

Following their deaths, both girls were named as the highest achieving girls in their school, Benjamin Britten High in Lowestoft, and would have walked into their first choice universities.

Lowestoft-based holiday company Hoseasons, which employed both girls, decided to launch The Claire and Carla Fund, giving £1,000 a year to support a student working for them.

This year's award winner was Beth Anderson, 20, who is studying speech and language sciences at Newcastle University, and will put the money towards a laptop computer to help with her coursework.

Last week, a committee consisting of Carla and Claire's parents and senior officers from Hoseasons sifted through the applications for the scholarship before coming to a unanimous decision.

Carla's father Dave said it was an honour that Hoseasons had recognised the girls, while his wife Angela added: "They were all wonderful applications and it was very hard to make the choice, but Beth stood out from the rest. A laptop will be very good for her and it was something Carla was hoping to have for her 18th birthday.

"It is a wonderful gesture from Hoseasons. We are very touched because going to university is close to all of our hearts as it was something our own daughters were planning to do."

On Wednesday, Beth was presented with her award by Carla's sister Kerry, 16, and Claire's sister Amy, 13.

Richard Carrick, chief executive of Hoseasons, said the deaths of the girls had made the company determined to honour their memories.

He added: "It was a massive shock to the business; they were brilliant students so we decided to set up this fund."

Claire, who received an A-grade in English literature and Bs in biology and chemistry, was hoping to study pharmacy at Nottingham University, while Carla, who gained three As in English literature, media and ICT, and a C in history, planned to study media at Lincoln University.

The girls were returning from a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Ipswich when the Vauxhall Astra they were in collided with the Renault.