Millionaire’s son pleads guilty over Cerys Edwards’ death


A millionaire’s son has admitted causing the death of a girl who died nine years after a car crash that left her severely disabled.

Cerys Edwards was 11 months old in 2006 when Antonio Boparan, then 19, crashed head-on into her parents’ car at 70mph in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

A post-mortem examination found her death was a result of the crash.

Boparan, 32, from Sutton Coldfield, admitted causing death by dangerous driving at Birmingham Crown Court.

He is due to be sentenced later.

His father, Ranjit Singh Boparan, is known as “The Chicken King” after founding the 2 Sisters Food Group.

Image caption Cerys Edwards was left paralysed and on a ventilator for nine years after the crash

Cerys died in October 2015, a month before her 10th birthday, after complications caused by an infection.

Medical experts concluded her death was “a consequence of her spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury sustained in collision”, the court heard.

She had been unable to breathe unaided and needed 24-hour specialist care after the car she was in was hit head-on by Boparan’s Range Rover on 11 November 2006.

Following the crash, Boparan was convicted of dangerous driving in April 2008 and served six months of 21-month jail sentence.

He was charged by postal requisition in December last year after a criminal case review was launched following the post-mortem examination results.

Image caption Cerys was left seriously brain-damaged in the crash

Simon Davis, prosecuting, described the case as “a short-lived piece of aggressive driving”, with Boparan driving at “greatly excessive speed”.

He said that before the accident in Streetly Lane – which has a 30mph limit – Boporan had been travelling at up to 80mph.

He ploughed head-on into a Jeep Cherokee driven by Cerys’s parents, Tracy and Paul Edwards, with the little girl “securely fastened” in a rear car seat.

Such was Boparan’s speed at impact – calculated as being 71mph – the family’s vehicle was “shunted” 50ft backwards, into a car behind, a court heard.

Cerys’s mother broke her left leg, Mr Edwards broke his nose and a rib, while the driver and a passenger in the car behind had a broken collar bone and kneecap respectively.

However, Cerys suffered what one doctor described as a “catastrophic severance of the high spinal cord” and severe head injuries.

Image caption Cerys suffered what one doctor described as a “catastrophic severance of the high spinal cord” and severe head injuries

During her short lifetime, Cerys developed complications and had a catalogue of “complex needs”, said Mr Davis.

That resulted in her admission in September 2014 to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for a “deteriorating respiratory condition”.

She never left hospital again, and died just over a year later.

Boparan’s barrister James Sturman said: “This was a stupid and immature piece of bad driving at high speed over a relatively small distance by a young man, 19 at the time, then driving for six months, and he has caused devastation to Cerys Edwards and her family.”

Boparan’s father, the court heard, made a £200,000 payment to Cerys’s parents to buy a house suitable for her needs, and attended a funeral service arranged by Mrs Edwards for the little girl.

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