YOUNG men in high powered cars must understand they are at the wheel of a lethal weapon, York’s top judge has warned.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, was jailing a 25-year-old man whose driving led to the death of his friend and a much-loved young mother, Naomi Buckle.

The judge said there was a “party mood” inside Harry Elliott’s car as he drove too fast on wet roads with four passengers on board and crashed on a winding country road late at night.

York Crown Court heard Elliott disregarded a warning to slow down before losing control of his Audi RS3 as it travelled downhill around a sharp left hand bend where the vehicle left the road and struck a tree.

Despite the efforts of the group and paramedics, his passenger and friend Naomi Buckle, 20, died at the scene from her injuries.

Judge Morris said: “This case is a tragedy which involved the death of a much loved and dear young woman caused by a friend.

“Young men in fast cars must understand that they drive a lethal weapon.

"If any good is to come of this it is that those who read about this tragedy in the newspapers, it is that those in performance cars should understand they have a duty of care and they should be attentive to the conditions of the road and the conditions of the weather.”

York Press: Harry ElliottHarry Elliott (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

Elliott, of Anteforth View, Gilling West near Richmond, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving on the B6265 Ripon-Risplith near Grantley Hall on December 6, 2019, and was jailed for two years.

He was banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended driving test before driving alone again.

The judge said though Ms Buckle was wearing her seatbelt under her arm rather than over it, every driver was responsible for ensuring that their passengers were properly restrained.

Elliott had no previous convictions and the judge said he was “utterly remorseful”.

The judge criticised the two and a half year delay before police and the CPS brought the case to court, which, he said was an “unjustifiable” delay.

North Yorkshire Police said after the case Elliott was taking his friends from Scotch Corner Hotel to Brimham Rocks near Harrogate.

The surviving passengers suffered a number of fractures but have since recovered from their injuries.

Sergeant Mark Patterson, senior investigating officer, said: “This is such a needless loss of a young life, something that could have been avoided.

“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of driving to the road conditions and complying with rules of the road. The rules are in place for a reason.

“Do not overestimate your driving ability and while there is no doubt where the responsibility for Naomi’s death lies, please, please make sure that fasten your seatbelt correctly.

“Naomi's family have shown incredible courage and bravery throughout this ordeal. They have suffered more than any prison sentence could compensate them for.”

York Press: Naomi BuckleNaomi Buckle (Image: North Yorkshire Police)

Naomi’s family said: “It has taken a long time to bring justice for our family. Naomi was a loving mum, daughter and sister, she is missed so much that words cannot describe, as a family we can’t comprehend how much this has affected and damaged us.”

“We can now finally put Naomi to rest after today, rest in peace Beautiful xxx”