Two drivers who caused the death of a young woman after they pursued her through the streets of Cardiff have been jailed today (Friday 12 May).
Sophie Taylor, 22, died after the car she was driving span off the road and into a building during the incident in the early hours of August 22 last year. Joshua Deguara, who was a passenger in the car, received life-changing injuries in the incident.
Melissa Pesticcio, 24, was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. Michael Wheeler, 23, pleaded guilty to the same two offences.
The court heard that all of those involved in the incident knew each other. Pesticcio and Wheeler began pursing Sophie Taylor after she drove past them at a set of traffic lights. Wheeler’s vehicle made contact with Sophie Taylor’s, causing it to leave the road.
Janine Davies, of the CPS, said:
“Wheeler and Pesticcio used their cars to frighten and harass Sophie and Joshua, with tragic consequences.
“The jury had to consider whether the standard of Pesticcio’s driving fell far below that of a careful and competent driver. The evidence presented to them demonstrated that it did.
“We thank Joshua for giving his evidence in court. He and his family, along with Sophie’s family, have been supportive throughout the process and we thank them for their bravery.”
Notes to Editors
· Janine Davies is a District Crown Prosecutor with CPS Cymru-Wales.
· Melissa Pesticcio was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison
· Michael Wheeler was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison