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Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Motorcyclist James Kirkham denies causing pal Dale West's death by dangerous driving after 'racing' him on A20 near Hythe

08 May 2014
by Paul Hooper

The moment a Folkestone teenager died after losing control of his car at high speed has been captured on CCTV.

The footage- from a nearby house on the A20 – showed the Peugeot, driven by 19-year-old Dale West, ploughing into a parked lorry.

The prosecution has alleged that Mr West and his motorcycle pal James Kirkham were racing when the tragic accident happened in April last year.

Dale West, killed in a crash on the A20 near Hythe

Dale West, killed in a crash on the A20 near Hythe



Kirkham, 20, of Meadowbank, Sandgate – who was following on his Suzuki Bandit 600 – has denied causing death by driving dangerously.

Prosecutor Paul Valder told a jury at Canterbury Crown Court how Mr Dale and Kirkham were in a convoy of motorcycles and cars heading to a motorway service station.

The group of friends had met at Halford's car park in Park Farm and planned to go to the Stop 24 service station.

Three times the two men were caught on CCTV cameras, which were played to the jury, including the moment the Peugeot struck a parked HGV lorry near Hythe at 11.15 pm on April 15.

Mr Valder said: “Mr West lost control, skidded and collided with a stationary lorry parked in a lay-by. Tragically he sustained fatal injuries and he died at the scene.

“The prosecution say that Kirkham, a friend of Dale West, was driving his motor cycle immediately behind Mr West at excessive speed.

“In effect they were racing. We say the manner of the defendant’s driving was at least a contributory factor in Dale West’s death, “ he said.

The jury heard that Mr West had owned the Peugeot 106 for less than two weeks before the crash and was in the car with friend Shanice Wright as a passenger.

The car was misfiring and Mr West had met up with the group to get advice from friend Evan Fisher.

The case is being heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The case is being heard at Canterbury Crown Court



“At Halford’s car park, the defendant, according to another friend, was being annoying and had been revving his motor bike unnecessarily, making the back wheel slide from side to side, “ said Mr Valder.

The two cars and the three motorcyclists then left the car park and stopped at a BP Garage in Cheriton to refuel.

“They then decided to go to Stop 24, which was on the motorway, but they were going via the A20 because they said it was a nicer road", the jury heard.

Mr Valder alleged that along the route, Kirkham’s motorcycle accelerated and overtook the cars “bombing past at speeds of between 90 to 100 mph.”

“Dale West followed at speeds estimated at about 70 mph.

"Mr Fisher estimated the defendant’s speed at least double the 60 mph speed limit. He said that Mr West was trying to keep up.

"Mr Fisher estimated the defendant’s speed at least double the 60 mph speed limit. He said that Mr West was trying to keep up" - prosecutor Paul Valder

“He would later tell the police that although he accelerated he couldn’t catch up (with the car and motorcycle) and told police that they must have been going at one hell of a speed", he claimed.

A motorist travelling in the opposite direction later told officers that an oncoming car “flashed by him at very high speed”.

Mr Valder added: “He travels that road regularly and said he had never before seen a car drive along there at that speed before.

"He said there a motor cycle directly behind the car and he formed the view they were either together or were racing each other.”

The prosecutor said the driver was so shocked that he lost control of his own vehicle and it ended up facing the opposite way.

Mr Valder added: “In his view the defendant was going irresponsibly fast.”

The trial continues.

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