1. ITV Report

Schoolboy killed after Ferrari driver 'lost control'

Matthew Cobden is accused of causing the death of Alexander Worth by careless driving. Credit: PA

A 13-year-old boy was killed while he was being taken for a ride in a high-performance Ferrari after the driver lost control causing it to crash and launch into the air, a court has heard.

Matthew Cobden is accused of causing the death of Alexander Worth by careless driving.

The schoolboy died at the scene in North Warnborough, Hampshire after the car which was driven by businessman Cobden crashed into a wooden pole.

Prosecuting, Thomas Wilkins, said that Cobden, who runs a storage business for classic cars, had been moving the Ferrari when he was approached by Justin Smith, the partner of Alexander's mother who was delivering a battery.

He asked for a photograph of the teenager with the £1.2 million Ferrari and Cobden offered to give the youngster a ride in the car at around 8.30pm on 22 August 2016.

They then drove off without seat belts along the quiet farm road with good weather conditions and visibility, Mr Wilkins said.

The jury was told that Alexander died when the defendant's car drove off the right-hand side into a long fence post which launched the vehicle into the air, flipping it and turning it through 270 degrees.

The crash happened on 22 August 2016. Credit: Hampshire Police

The prosecution said that "the fatal incident was caused by a simple driver error - in other words, Mr Cobden's driving fell below that required of a careful and competent driver."

The court heard that when Mr Cobden was asked how the incident happened he said shortly before he had put his foot on the accelerator and the vehicle took off uncontrollably.

"He doesn't say he experienced any difficulties with the car prior to that point and there is ample evidence the car was in good working order earlier that day," said Mr Wilkins.

The prosecution told the court that one explanation for the accident was that the defendant did not realise that the left-hand drive car had "drifted" off the road.

"Another explanation is the defendant misjudged the formidable power of this iconic car, over-accelerated and lost control," Mr Wilkins said.

Winchester Crown Court also heard that the Ferrari F50 "was the nearest you can get to a Formula One car on a public road" and it was capable of reaching 0-60 mph in under four seconds.

Mr Wilkins explained that the owner of the car had spent £50,000 servicing and refurbishing the vehicle with the intention of selling it.

He added that the car had earlier that day been taken for a photo shoot in Bruntingthorpe, Lincolnshire.

He said journalist Richard Meaden drove it that morning and "he described the car as a fabulous example of the Ferrari F50".

Mr Wilkins added: "His defence is that nothing he did caused the crash, rather it was due to some latent defect with the vehicle which caused it, without warning, to roar off and he was unable to control it or stop it in time."

The defendant denies the charge and the trial continues.