A driver who was warned his car’s rear tyres were near the legal limit drove another 7,000 miles on them until the vehicle was involved in a fatal crash, a court heard.
Three months after being given the advice by MOT staff, Henry Reynolds' car was unable to stop in wet conditions and slammed head on into another vehicle, killing its driver and injuring a passenger.
Reynolds, 31, was not driving at the time but sitting in the passenger seat as he had been drinking - but because he knew his tyres were illegal at the time he was prosecuted in a landmark case.
He was jailed for two years and six months, after admitting aiding and abetting causing the death of 36-year-old Winston Chau by dangerous driving.
As he sentenced 31-year-old Reynolds, Judge Michael Kay QC said: “You knew the effect the tyres were having on the vehicle in wet weather and caused fishtailing. This car was unroadworthy and should not have been on the road.
“You were not driving the vehicle, but you were allowing someone else to drive the car when it was unroadworthy and in a dangerous state.”
Reynolds, an unemployed father of two, also admitted aiding and abetting causing serious injury to Mr Chau’s mother, Cam Chau, then 57, by his dangerous driving.
The charges relate to a crash at 9.45pm on 12 May 2018 on St Albans Road in Redbourn in Hertfordshire, when Reynolds' black Mercedes crashed into Mr Chau's Honda Civic.
Reynolds' car was being driven by his friend TJ Sam Quirke, 28. Both men had been drinking and Quirke, who was over the drink-drive limit, accelerated to more than 65mph in a 30mph zone, CCTV showed.
Witnesses said they saw the Mercedes "fishtailing" and then watched it veer into oncoming traffic and slam into Mr Chau's vehicle at between 43mph and 53mph.
Mr Chau died at the scene and his mother was taken to hospital for treatment with life-changing injuries, including broken ribs, a broken wrist, a fractured sternum and facial and internal injuries.
He had worked for Easyjet training cabin crew and was driving his mother home from a party she had attended for his three-year-old niece.
Prosecutor Corinne Bramwell said Reynolds, of High Street, London Colney, had been told the tread on his tyres was getting low three months before the crash but had not changed them, and had in fact driven a further 6,726 miles on them.
In a police interview, Reynolds told officers he knew the car could fishtail in wet conditions.
Quirke, of Down Edge, Redbourn, was jailed in November 2020 for five years and three months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving and having no insurance. He was disqualified from driving for 87 months.
The judge was also told that Reynolds had been convicted of drink driving in July 2020 and had been disqualified from driving. For the crash in which Mr Chau died he was banned for four years and three months.
Liam Laughlin, mitigating, said Reynolds had suffered PTSD since the crash and was “extremely sorry and remorseful”.
Judge Kay said that there were no sentencing guidelines for aiding and abetting causing death by dangerous driving, and that barristers had struggled to find precedents.
“None can be found and it’s an unusual case and presents a difficult sentencing problem,” he said.