A pair who "literally drove" a woman to her death and caused her passenger horrific injuries in a city centre car chase have been jailed.

Michael Wheeler, 23, and Melissa Pesticcio, 24, pursued his ex-girlfriend Sophie Taylor, 22, in separate vehicles as she drove through Cardiff.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Wheeler had been in a relationship with Pesticcio when he started dating Miss Taylor in June last year.

The relationship between Wheeler and Miss Taylor ended weeks later, with Pesticcio and Wheeler becoming increasingly hostile towards her.

CCTV cameras in the city captured the pair, in separate cars, chasing Miss Taylor at speeds of up to 56mph from 12.32am on 22 August.

Three minutes later, at 12.35am, Wheeler rammed the side of Miss Taylor’s car – causing it to spin out of control and crash into a block of flats.

Miss Taylor died in hospital while her friend and passenger Joshua Deguara suffered life-changing injuries.

Wheeler admitted causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving. A jury later convicted Pesticcio of the same charges.

Judge Tom Crowther QC jailed Wheeler for seven years and six months, and Pesticcio for six years and six months for the completely avoidable tragedy.

It was caused by you two, when you were consumed by a self-righteous and jealous rage, chasing her down to frighten her and teach her a lesson, the judge said.

Miss Taylor and Mr Deguara went to Wheeler’s family home on the night of 21 August, hoping to reclaim a motorbike Miss Taylor had bought for him with a £6,000 loan.

Pesticcio used her car to chase Miss Taylor out off her turf – the area around Wheeler’s home in Rumney, Cardiff, the court heard.

Just after midnight she called Wheeler and the pair set off in separate cars looking for Miss Taylor, who eventually drove past them by chance.

Mr Deguara called 999 and told police their car was being chased, with the call continuing until the fatal crash.

The judge added: The part of the CCTV of three cars on Broadway resembles nothing more than a pack chasing its prey.

Pesticcio and Wheeler then chased Miss Taylor’s car into narrow residential streets, with Wheeler driving at 56mph.

Both of you were still accelerating, the judge said. Sophie and Joshua would have been terrified at this stage.

Wheeler then attempted to ram Miss Taylor off the road, causing her BMW to fold along the passenger side before crashing.

Miss Taylor sustained catastrophic brain injuries and died. Mr Deguara was cut free from the wreckage and spent 101 days in hospital.

Both Pesticcio and Wheeler drove away after the crash but parked a short distance away, where they were arrested by police.

Wheeler was given an additional 12-month prison sentence for pursuing a prosecution witness in a car while on bail in September.

Mr Deguara, 21, using crutches to walk, gave a victim impact statement to the court.

I can’t remember anything from 10 minutes before the crash until five weeks after due to my brain injury, he said.

My parents had to break the news to me that my friend Sophie had passed away.

In what has been the hardest decision, Mr Deguara will have his leg amputated below the left knee as his injuries have left it with no feeling.

Sometimes I feel so angry with what has happened, he said. I know I’m lucky to be alive but my life will never be the same.

Rodney Taylor, Miss Taylor’s father, said: I am, in some ways, the luckiest father in the world.

I cherish every moment and hope that wherever she is, she finds the peace and happiness that she deserves. I hope that maybe one day we will meet again.

Her mother, Jackie Taylor, added: I feel so heartbroken at the thought of just how frightened and alone my daughter must have felt that night, being chased through the streets like an animal.

Family members of both Miss Taylor and Mr Deguara, wearing pink ribbons, clapped after each victim impact statement was read.

They clapped and cheered as the judge announced the prison sentences for Wheeler and Pesticcio.

http://ooyala.news.sky.com/w4NjQ2YjE6Tq1NymRM5FtTAZiPT5GYmJ/DOcJ-FxaFrRg4gtDIwOjM3NjowODE7UK
(c) Sky News 2017: Melissa Pesticcio and Michael Wheeler jailed over deadly Cardiff car chase


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