The son of a former Conservative mayor has been jailed after causing his friends death, when he attempted to drive 270 miles while 130 times over the drug drive limit. Christopher Backhouse was driving home to Scarborough, North Yorkshire on 11 August 2014, after attending the Boom Town music festival in Wiltshire, where he had taken "staggering" amounts of MDMA, or ecstasy.
The 26-year-old offered to drive his friends home despite having consumed significant quantities of the drug. His Renault Clio careered off the A64 near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, killing 22-year-old athelete Alex Baron instantly, before coming to rest in a ditch. York Crown Court was told that Backhouse was lucky to be alive after he was found with a potentially fatal level of MDMA in his system, that read 130 times over the drug driving limit.
His dad, Andrew Backhouse served as civic mayor of Scarborough from 2013-14, and appeared with his son during the trial, which concluded on 15 April. Backhouse was jailed for two years and given a three year driving ban.
Lead investigator, TC Zoe Billings, said: "The amount of drugs found in Backhouse's system was simply staggering - the highest reading our force has ever seen. How he thought he was fit to drive is just beyond comprehension. To then agree to take passengers and put their lives at risk was just plain irresponsible and sadly had very tragic consequences.
"He was well aware of the concoction of drugs he had taken over the weekend. By agreeing to drive and be in control of the car, Backhouse gave no consideration to the safety of his friends and passengers and put their lives at risk."
Backhouse had been taking drugs all weekend at the festival and had other friends as his passengers, whilst still under the influence of the illegal substances, when he began his drive home. Alex's family said in a statement: "He was enjoying life to the full having only recently returned from Australia a few weeks before his untimely death. Initially, we had formed the opinion that the accident was exactly that, an 'accident', however as the police investigation progressed it became clear things were very different.
"To learn that the driver of the car had been found with a very high level of an illegal substance in his system was difficult to comprehend. The thought of someone being so irresponsible and the fact that this accident could have been so easily prevented, infuriates us.
"The new drug drive laws were not in place at the time of Alex's death, but to learn that the driver's level was in excess of 100 times the new drug drive limit shows the severity of his ways. Alex will not be forgotten by any of his friends and family who loved and cared for him so very much.
"His passing has left a huge void in so many lives that can never be filled. We would like everyone that knew Alex to remember him for his fun loving nature and recall him with fond memories."