Ashden Mackintosh inquest: Teenager died in A64 horror crash in car driven by driver who had never passed his test

A talented 16-year-old sportsman died in a collision on the A64 near Tadcaster while a passenger in a car driven by a man who had never held a full licence.

Ashden Mackintosh, from Swarcliffe in east Leeds, was killed instantly when the Vauxhall Insignia driver Kaylom Delaney, 22, had borrowed from a friend left the road and struck a tree on the night of May 3 last year.

Mr Delaney also died in the crash and his girlfriend, who was travelling in the front seat, was injured.

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An inquest was held into Ashden's death at County Hall in Northallerton today and was attended by the teenager's mother, grandparents, brother and uncle.

Ashden MackintoshAshden Mackintosh
Ashden Mackintosh

They were told that although no drugs or alcohol were found in gym-loving Ashden's system, Kaylom Delaney was under the influence of cocaine and cannabis.

Police also believed that some of the Insignia's tyres could have been dangerously underinflated, though could not conclusively say whether they had contributed to the collision due to the damage they suffered from the impact.

Ashden's mother Amy Kamga told the inquest that she had initially reported her son missing on the morning after the collision after hearing about it on social media, as when she contacted police they at first told her Ashden had not been in the car.

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The John Smeaton Academy year 11 pupil lived with her and younger siblings Kyle, 15, and Olivia, nine, and loved football and boxing. Ms Kamga found out after his death that Ashden had been accepted onto a bricklaying course at Leeds City College.

In a statement she said: "Ashden doted on his sister and was close to Kyle. We're a large, close family. He was popular with his friends and teachers, he was cheeky and loved PE and woodwork. He was very practical and used to help me put furniture together.

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"His passion was football and he started playing for Whinmoor Juniors when he was seven or eight. He won lots of trophies and also won a championship title with Seacroft Select Boxing Club. He was very disciplined and would ask me to cook him healthy food for his training. After he died I got a card from an elderly neighbour who told me he used to leave his friends to carry her shopping for her. He was polite, lovely and close to his grandma."

On the night of the collision, Ms Kamga said her son seemed his 'normal self' before she went to bed, and when she went to work the next morning and found him gone she assumed he had gone to stay with friends as he sometimes did. She said Ashden had 'never mentioned' Kaylom Delaney or his girlfriend to her and thought that as the couple were older he had thought she would not approve of his friendship with them.

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A postmortem found that Ashden died from a fractured skull and that he would have lost consciousness immediately.

The vehicle involved belonged to Mr Delaney's best friend Michael McDonagh, who owns a desserts shop and used it to make deliveries. He had left the car outside Mr Delaney's home after a night out, and told him to look after the keys until he collected it. Mr McDonagh said he had not 'expected' it to be driven by anyone else though he had not expressly forbidden it, and he did not know if Mr Delaney had passed his driving test.

Mr Delaney's girlfriend said he held only a provisional licence but that she had been driven by him before. She found Ashden in their home at around 9pm and that he was 'bored' and wanted to go out with them. She had only met him for the first time the previous week but he had been out with them before.

The group went to a KFC before driving to a graveyard in the Wetherby area to pay their respects to Mr Delaney's friend Luke Deegan, who was killed in a motorcycle collision aged 19 in 2020. They then bought food from the McDonald's drive-thru at Bilbrough Top on the A64 before heading westbound back to Leeds.

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HGV driver Gary Lyon, who was travelling eastbound to Whitby, noticed the oncoming Insignia's headlights and believed they were 'spinning out of control', so stopped his lorry and went to assist. He found the car in a ditch and rescued the 'distressed' female passenger but could not help either of the two males as the roof had compressed inwards and trapped the driver and rear seat passenger.

North Yorkshire Police forensic collision investigator PC Patrick Green found that the Insignia had struck two trees in separate impacts that were strong enough to tear the engine away from the car.

He estimated the speed at 90mph in a 70mph zone due to the time it took him in a reconstruction to travel from McDonald's to the crash site, and the final reading of the speedometer. All three were wearing seatbelts.

PC Green said: "They left McDonald's at 11.40pm. There was a right hand bend and the tyres then began to lose traction. It would have been difficult to regain control. Around midway round the bend the car left the road. This was captured on the HGV's dashcam. It hit the first tree, rotated and travelled along the bottom of the ditch before colliding with the second tree.

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"Kaylom Delaney did not hold a full driving licence and his lack of experience may have contributed. There had been a discussion about tyre pressure between Kaylom and Michael McDonagh, and if they were underinflated this would have an effect on performance and handling.

"Kaylom Delaney also had a medical condition, strabismus 'squint', which affected his vision and the DVLA would have had to investigate this before giving him a licence. Both eyes cannot focus on the same point and this can affect depth perception. He was also under the influence of cocaine and over the safe drug driving limit. Cannabis was present in his blood. It is likely that he over-corrected after the loss of control on the onset of the bend and that he was impaired through cocaine use."

There was no evidence of driver distraction or mobile phone use and PC Green added that a more experienced driver would likely have noticed any issues with the tyres before setting out.

Recording a conclusion of death in a road traffic collision, assistant coroner for North Yorkshire Oliver Longstaff said: "One person whose fault this could never have been is Ashden. He was an innocent passenger and there was nothing he could have done.

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"There are several potential contributory factors that can be shown to the relevant standard of proof, including the fact that the driver had never passed his test and had a lack of experience, and that the speed was far in excess of the limit.

"For the other matters it is difficult to say, as we don't know the effect any substance has on an individual, only the level that may affect them."

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