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Drivers 'caused tragedy by trial of speed'

VICTIM: Dominic Neff died of multiple injuries
VICTIM: Dominic Neff died of multiple injuries

TWO motorists were engaged in a "trial of speed" when one lost control of his car and careered through garden fences and walls, killing one of his passengers, a court heard today.

Dominic Neff, 20, died of multiple injuries after the MG Rover in which he was travelling was said to have split open on impact with a tree in Maidstone Road, Rainham.

Mr Neff, who lived in nearby Edwin Road, was pulled underneath the car. The Rover had careered out of control as it rounded a bend near the junction with Georgian Way.

Maidstone Crown Court heard it veered on to the opposite side of the carriageway and through several garden fences and walls, hitting a lamp-post before finally striking the tree in a front garden.

A Mercedes parked in the driveway was also damaged and flying debris smashed a Velux roof window.

Mr Neff was one of four people being given a lift by Rover driver Neil Mayhead, 29. The driver of the other car, a Lexus, was Samuel Bray. He, his three passengers, Mayhead and the group in Mayhead’s car had all spent the evening together at The Bell pub in Bredhurst, near Maidstone, before leaving just after 11pm on November 3 2005.

The court heard that witnesses travelling both on foot and in a car in the opposite direction to the Rover and Lexus believed the two vehicles were speeding. One even described them as being "side by side". However, neither saw the fatal crash.

Peter Alcock, prosecuting, told the jury that although 21-year-old Bray was not the driver of the Rover and did not crash his own car, his dangerous driving contributed to the smash that killed Mr Neff.

"The Crown say, on the basis of what the witnesses say, that the two cars were driving too fast, engaged either together or separately in a trial of speed," he added. "Some witnesses will describe racing."

Bray, of Marshall Road, Gillingham, denies causing death by dangerous driving. The court was told that Mayhead, of Mossy Glade, Gillingham, admitted the same charge at an earlier hearing.

"The Crown say both men drove dangerously and both men contributed to the accident," said Mr Alcock.

The trial is expected to last about a week.

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