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Drunk driver jailed over death of ‘popular princess' Lillie

Emily Pennink, PA Old Bailey Correspondent

A “selfish” drunk-driver who reached 100mph before crashing and killing a woman on Christmas Day has been jailed for more than 10 years.

Charlie Hilton, 25, was chased by police before his Mercedes hit a tree, flipped over and burst into flames early on December 25 2021.

Residents in Beeches Avenue, Carshalton, south London, grabbed fire extinguishers and rushed to help.

But 21-year-old Lillie Clack was fatally injured and died days later.

Three other passengers were badly hurt, including Ms Clack's boyfriend Jack Watson and best friend Delia Casey.

The friends had been enjoying a Winter Wonderland attraction in the West End and visited a pub in Morden before accepting a lift home from Hilton in his mother's car.

At the time, Hilton, who lived on a caravan park in Tadworth, Surrey, was over the drink-drive limit and had overloaded the car with five passengers, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Harry Garside said Hilton was told by his passengers a police vehicle had turned its blue lights on behind them and was indicating for him to stop.

Instead, he sped off so fast one of the group bumped his head on the roof of the car.

Mr Garside said: “The defendant's response to being told to pull over was silence and he continued driving at high speed.”

Those speeds were said to be in excess of 70mph on residential roads and at one point reached 100mph in a 40mph zone.

The police car lost sight of the Mercedes about a mile from where Hilton lost control and crashed.

The court was told Hilton had 11 previous convictions, including for motoring offences, and had been jailed for 10 months for possession with intent to supply a psychoactive substance.

He pleaded guilty to causing Ms Clack's death by dangerous driving, three counts of causing serious injury, failing to stop when directed and driving above the alcohol limit.

As he appeared at the Old Bailey to be sentenced on Friday, Ms Clack's mother and aunt wept as they read victim impact statements.

Her mother Debbie Clack, a dental nurse, described her popular, hard-working daughter as her “pride and joy”.

As a “beautiful” blonde and blue-eyed teenager, she had brought joy to children's parties when she dressed as Disney princesses Cinderella and Elsa, she said.

During the lockdown, her workplace closed and she worked as a Sainsbury's delivery driver.

Her mother said: “The beautiful person who grew inside me has been taken away too soon. My heart has been shattered into a million pieces.”

On Hilton's behaviour after the crash, she said: “Throughout the year he has been free to live his life as if nothing has happened. He was plastered all over social media enjoying life as he did not give a fig about Lillie or her family. His actions make it seems like he just did not care.”

Aunt Donna Barnham added: “She just went out one day to have fun. She did not come home. She was killed, her life taken away because of another person and that person, Charlie Hilton, made a choice.

“He did not listen to our Lillie and his passengers pleading with him to stop. He continued to drive at speed and killed our princess. The selfish choices he made killed our little baby.”

In mitigation, Isobel McCarroll said Hilton took full responsibility for his “thoughtless” behaviour.

She said: “He wished he could turn the clock back. He will never forgive himself.”

Judge Sarah Munro KC branded Hitlon's actions “stupid and selfish” as she jailed him for 10 years and six months.

She said: “Lillie Clack was the only daughter to her mother Debbie. She was her mother's pride and joy and constant companion.

“She lit up the lives of all she came into contact with and was extremely hard-working. She lived her life to the full at work and at play.”

The judge said there was “no punishment” that could compensate Ms Clack's loved ones for their loss.

Judge Munro disqualified Hilton from driving for five years after his release from prison.

Outside the Old Bailey, a group of friends and supporters of Ms Clack dressed in pink and held up a banner calling for justice.

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