Heartbroken family's tribute to 'beautiful' daughter killed in dangerous driving crash

  • Bethany's family have been paying tribute to their daughter

The family of a 19-year-old who died after a dangerous driver crashed into her friend's car has paid tribute to their 'beautiful' and 'spirited' daughter.

Hawkes has today been sent to prison for 10 years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen. Bethany Branson died at the scene.

In a heartbreaking tribute to her daughter, Amy Branson said: "She was a whirlwind. She was passionate. She lived life to its full.

"She was beautiful and she had beautiful soul. She was loved. She always said growing up, she was here for the good times, and not for the long times.

"And it's heartbreaking. She was determined and spirited. And she just lit up the room. She was very happy. She was happy and hilarious. Who was absolutely hilarious.'

Bethany was a keen rugby player and after her death the England Rugby Captain, Sarah Hunter, sent a message of condolence to Amy and her husband Ben.

Bethany Branson was a keen Rugby player Credit: Branson Family

CCTV cameras filmed the crash in Bridgwater last November. Hawkes' van is seen speeding at 60 miles an hour - double the 30mph limit - he fails to brake as he crosses the crossroads, colliding with Bethany's friend's car.

After the crash, Hawkes was arrested, refusing to give a breath test and telling police 'Hopefully I killed them.'

Bethany was the only fatality in the crash, in which two other vehicles were hit.

  • Bethany's mother speaks to ITV News West Country

Amy said: "She went out that night with her friend for a drive. They went to McDonald's and they got a milkshake and they were singing and they were laughing.

"She'd just finished work and she'd come home. And she said, 'I'm not going to be back till late. Mum, I love you.' And she should have walked back through the door.

Ben said: "We're not angry people and I think our immediate reaction was probably just disbelief and sadness that we lost Bethany.

"It doesn't change anything. We have a life sentence because we will deal with this and have to deal with this for the rest of our lives."

Luke Hawkes said 'Hopefully I killed them' after Bethany Branson died when he collided with her car Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Sgt Adam Frampton Mellor, of Avon and Somerset Police said: "I don't think anybody intends on killing somebody in an accident on the roads.

"But in this case, and the behaviour demonstrated, I've never seen anybody react in this way. He just appears to show no remorse for his actions whatsoever. "