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Killer driver, 18, jailed for 11 years

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TEENAGER Russ Ballard has been jailed for 11 years for killing a former schoolmate with his car.

Andrew Hodges, of Denness Road, Ashford, who was 17, died from multiple injuries after being flung from the bonnet of Ballard’s VW Polo in November last year in Mace Lane, Ashford.

At the time, Ballard, 18, an electrician, of Hythe Road, Ashford, was more than three times over the legal limit for drinking and driving.

He had denied murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter by reason of gross negligence, and was found guilty of the second charge.

Both Ballard and the victim were former pupils of Homewood School, Tenterden, but in different years.

Ballard told the court his last clear recollection was of being in a pub and drinking an unfamiliar beer which seemed to be going to his head a bit quickly.

In addition to the 11-year sentence, which will start in a young offender institution, Ballard was disqualified from driving for ten years.

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