Driver on 18-hour cocaine binge ran down Yaxley 'best friends' before fleeing across fields with £72,000 cash filled suitcase

Thomas Fletcher and Thomas Northam
Thomas Fletcher and Thomas Northam

A BMW driver fatally struck two Yaxley friends after an 18-hour cocaine binge in which he took drugs at the wheel and then later fled across fields with £72,000 in a suitcase, a court heard today.

Richard Frost, 39, admitted at Cambridge Crown Court to causing the deaths of 19-year-old Thomas Fletcher and Thomas Northam, 22, by dangerous driving.

Richard Frost

Richard Frost

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He also admitted two counts of common assault and one of money laundering.

The crash happened on the B1091 at Yaxley near Peterborough at around 11am on January 3 this year after what prosecutor Jonathon Polnay described as "an exceptionally prolonged course of dangerous driving".

Frost had picked up two passengers in Essex on the previous morning, Tracy Anderson and James Archer, they took drugs together and drove up to Grimsby then south through Boston in Lincolnshire.

He was even recorded doing an average of 117mph over a 1.3 mile stretch on the A16 at Crowland which is a 60mph limit.

Mr Polnay said "everyone in the car was taking drugs" and that Ms Anderson would put cocaine on Frost's hand so Frost could take it while driving.

Frost's BMW X5 hit speeds of up to 117mph, used lay-bys and the hard shoulder to undertake vehicles at speed and overtook while driving into oncoming traffic, the court heard.

One witness described it as "driving like a nutter", Mr Polnay said, and on a 999 call played to the court another witness said "if he doesn't run into someone or kill someone it will be a miracle".

Before the fatal crash, Frost had assaulted Ms Anderson and left her and Mr Archer at a service station.

Frost was also seen driving into a hedge at Fountain Place in Peterborough, off Eyebury Road, and undertook cars while driving with all four wheels in a footpath in Broadway, on one occasion missing a pedestrian by a matter of centimetres which would have resulted in a fatal or serious collision.

He also stopped off at Friar Tucks fish and chip shop in Yaxley where staff had to prevent him from getting behind the counter. Frost told staff he needed to wash his knuckles which were bleeding.

Mr Polnay said that pedestrians Mr Fletcher and Mr Northam were walking facing traffic, but Frost drove along the verge on the wrong side of the road and struck them from behind.

"This wasn't a loss of control because Frost remained in a degree of control as the car remained on the offside grass verge for 50m," he said.

Frost then drove a further 80m on the other side of the road, turned off into fields then fled with the suitcase containing £72,000, Mr Polnay said.

He said Frost went out of sight in a cemetery for a time, emerged without the suitcase, assaulted a man who tried to make him wait for police and managed to get away.

Police found Frost asleep at his mother's house in Chelmsford, Essex at 10.45pm that night, and the suitcase was later found at the foot of a garden.

Mr Polnay said: "This was perhaps an exceptionally prolonged course of dangerous driving.

"He consumed class A drugs while driving, he did not stop at the scene, he was on police bail for a very serious offence at the time."

He added that Frost was "driving dangerously, erratically and at dangerous speeds" after "having taken cocaine for the previous 18 hours" and having been awake for more than 30 hours.

Frost, of Dorset Avenue, Chelmsford, Essex, appeared by video-link from Chelmsford Prison wearing a long-sleeved grey top.

He showed no reaction and remained seated throughout the hearing, which was attended by family members of the two dead men.

Judge David Farrell QC adjourned the case for sentence until December 20 while reports are prepared on the danger posed by Frost and on his mental health.

He told Frost: "Custody is inevitable in this case, and significant custody."

A statement was also read out by Tom Fletcher's mum Tina, who said she was "devastated" and "angry" at the loss of "two gorgeous boys."

Her son Tom was "happy and full of life."

She added: "Christmas is coming. What we are going to do to get through it? I do not know.

"I'm devastated and heart-broken and just do not understand how this happened. Our lives have changed forever."