Heartbroken parents speak of anger after daughter’s killer is convicted of causing second crash
THE devastated parents of 15-year-old Rachel Deradour have spoken of their anger that the “boy racer” who killed their daughter went on to cause another serious accident just eight months after the fatal crash.
They believe that 20-year-old Robert Dales, who was convicted of dangerous driving last week following a six-day trial, should never have been bought the car which he crashed on the A414 between London Colney and Hatfield on December 29 with three teenage passengers inside.
At the time he was on bail for causing the death of Rachel, from Colney Heath, who was killed in a crash along the Hemel Hempstead Road eight months previous when Dales, of Faircross Way, clipped the kerb and spun into the path of another car in “momentary inattention” after he was overtaken as the road narrowed into one lane.
He pleaded guilty to careless driving in relation to that incident – which also left the driver of the other car with serious injuries – earlier this year having denied the charge at several previous hearings.
But he had denied driving dangerously in his next car – a modified 1.9 diesel yellow Seat Ibiza – in the December crash in which he spun out of control as he overtook a lorry.
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Dales insisted that he had been driving cautiously in second gear at between 50 and 60mph leading up to the accident before changing into third gear to overtake, but two of his passengers told the court how terrified they had been with him behind the wheel.
One of them said that Dales had replied to a request to slow down by saying: “I’ve had loads of crashes, crashes are fun.”
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It was also heard that he had been issued with a Section 59 notice for allegedly racing in a different car at the St Albans Retail Park back in April 2008.
The jury took around an hour-and-a-half to unanimously find the electrical engineer guilty of dangerous driving and he was told by Judge Marie Catterson to expect a jail term when he is sentenced later this month.
The verdict came as a huge relief for Rachel’s devastated family, friends and her boyfriend Jensen who had all sat through the trial.
Speaking this week, her parents Tina and John said that Dales should never have been bought another car in which he was able to go on and put the lives of three other teenagers at risk.
They said that knowing about the second accident had made grieving for Rachel even more painful.
They said: “What is most heartbreaking to us is the lack of remorse proven by the fact he carried on driving the way he did.
“Everyone can make a mistake but most people learn from it and change their ways.
“He could’ve killed someone else’s son or daughter and another family could have ended up in the horrendous position we are in.
“He deserves to be off the road as he is a danger to himself and anyone else who gets in his car.
“If only he had been taught morally the value of life we may still have our beautiful daughter with us.”
They added: “We know he didn’t set out to kill Rachel but if he had concentrated on his driving then she would still be here.
“We hope that this will teach any other boy racers that take people in their car to think twice about their driving standard before they kill someone.”
Mr and Mrs Deradour, of Cutmore Drive, also spoke of their anger about seeing a photo Dales had uploaded onto social networking site Facebook after Rachel’s death of the car he was driving the night she was killed, in an album named ‘my baby car’.
In comments posted under the photo he said that he was looking at another one after his friend said he “missed her”.
The parents extended heartfelt thanks to their barrister Ann Evans, family liaison officer Matt Jacob and police traffic officer Pete Talbot.
Rachel, a Loreto College pupil, should have been celebrating her school prom on Monday evening and the event was dedicated to her memory.
Her friends created a shrine for their much-loved friend at the venue and balloons with messages to her were released at the end of the night, which was called the ‘Pink Prom’ as the colour was Rachel’s favourite.
Her former primary school, Colney Heath JMI, will also have a stall dedicated to Rachel at their summer fete at the weekend.