Driver jailed after inhaling laughing gas and driving van off bridge, killing teenage girl

31 October 2023, 15:11

Hughes has been sentenced after killing cousin, Bonny Barrow.
Hughes has been sentenced after killing cousin, Bonny Barrow. Picture: Lancashire Police, social media
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

Cameron Hughes, 23, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail and has been banned from driving for nearly nine years, after killing Bonny Barrow, 15 in the crash.

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On 7 July, Bonny Barrow was being driven to her family by her cousin, Cameron Hughes, 23, before the van drove through a metal barrier into a ravine five metres below.

He had picked up the school girl from Manchester and was giving Bonny a lift to Great Harwood to have dinner with her family, who had recently moved there

Before Hughes drove his Mercedes Sprinter van off of a bridge, Bonny filmed him inhaling laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, through a yellow balloon and using Snapchat on his phone.

Man high on nitrous oxide crashes car

During the 35-minute drive, Hughes had been in many close calls with other vehicles, such as driving on the hard shoulder, straddling between lanes and bouncing off a kerb at the edge of the carriageway at over 60mph.

Bonny suffered serious injuries and died the next day at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Read more: ‘Hippy crack’ laughing gas to become illegal next month - with dealers facing up to 14 years behind bars

Read more: Group trapped in Cardiff car crash that killed three 'had been drinking and inhaling laughing gas'

Hughes was thrown from his van and suffered minor injuries.

Hughes was filmed inhaling laughing gas behind the wheel.
Hughes was filmed inhaling laughing gas behind the wheel. Picture: Lancashire Police X/Twitter

Hughes was admitted to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared at Preston Crown Court on Thursday, 17 August.

On Tuesday, 30 October, he has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail and has also been banned from driving for eight years and nine months.

In a tribute to their daughter, Bonny’s family said: "Bonny was an amazing daughter who was kind, loving and always wanted to spend time with her family and friends.

"She loved doing all the things that teenagers do especially dancing, singing, shopping and making TikTok videos that we treasure.

Bonny has been described as "kind" and "loving" by her family.
Bonny has been described as "kind" and "loving" by her family. Picture: Lancashire Police

"We cherish the memories of her and the joy she brought us for the 15 years that she was in our lives. We all miss her so much and would do anything to have her back.

"Cameron had one job that day – to get Bonny home to us safely. But he made dangerous choices that led to her death and cost us the chance to watch her fully blossom into the beautiful young woman she was becoming.

"Bonny – I am so proud to be your mum. The love and laughter that you brought into our lives can never be replaced. And even though we are now apart, my hand is always held out if you ever need to hold it."

Manchester Evening News reported Judge Heather Lloyd said to Hughes: "This was quite a shocking piece of driving and a young 15-year-old life has been needlessly wiped out.

"It is a miracle that no other person was wiped out, including yourself.

"This was a tragedy waiting to happen."

Hughes had been in many close calls with other vehicles, such as driving on the hard shoulder.
Hughes had been in many close calls with other vehicles, such as driving on the hard shoulder. Picture: Lancashire Police

Sergeant Laura Kendall from Lancashire's Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: "Bonny was a much-loved bubbly teenager whose life has been cruelly taken away. My heart goes out to her family and friends who have been so affected by her tragic loss.

"Cameron Hughes is entirely responsible for what happened that day in July.

"He chose to take nitrous oxide while driving, to use his mobile phone at the wheel and to drive dangerously.

"These avoidable actions led to the devastating collision that caused the death of Bonny.”

Sergeant Matt Davidson from the same unit said: “Too often we see the aftermath of drivers under the influence of nitrous oxide. It is seen by many to be a harmless drug but as shown here, the consequences of misusing it can be fatal.”

On 8 November 2023, Nitrous Oxide will become a controlled Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

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