Tycoon's son jailed for causing death of girl who died nine years after car crash

<em>Antonio Singh Boparan admitted responsibility for causing the death of a girl at Birmingham Crown Court (Picture: SWNS)</em>
Antonio Singh Boparan admitted responsibility for causing the death of a girl at Birmingham Crown Court (Picture: SWNS)

A multi-millionaire’s son has been jailed for causing the death of a toddler who died nine years after he smashed head-on into the car she was travelling in.

“Arrogant” Antonio Singh Boparan, who was 19 at the time of the crash, ploughed his Range Rover into the family car while speeding on the wrong side of the road at 70mph in a 30mph zone.

Cerys Edwards, then just one, was left paralysed, unable to breathe unaided and needing 24-hour specialist care. She died in October 2015, a month before her 10th birthday, after complications caused by an infection.

Boparan, now 31, was jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

<em>Boparan drove the Range Rover head on into the family car. (Picture: PA)</em>
Boparan drove the Range Rover head on into the family car. (Picture: PA)
<em>After the crash, Cerys was unable to breathe normally and required a ventilator (Picture: SWNS)</em>
After the crash, Cerys was unable to breathe normally and required a ventilator (Picture: SWNS)

Judge Melbourne Inman QC said he had showed “an arrogant disregard for the safety of others” when he drove that day, and caused “catastrophic” injuries to little Cerys.

He said: “The quality of her short life was destroyed as in many ways was that of her parents.

“Finally, Cerys yielded to her injuries and disabilities and your criminal actions eventually took her life away from her.”

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Boparan, of Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, was also banned from driving for three years and nine months.

As he was sentenced, Boparan blew out his cheeks, turned to his father in the public gallery, buttoned up his suit jacket and was taken down to the cells.

<em>Boparan (left) arrives at Birmingham Crown Court (Picture: SWNS)</em>
Boparan (left) arrives at Birmingham Crown Court (Picture: SWNS)

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Edwards said the family had “finally got justice” for Cerys but the time Boparan would actually serve in jail was “a complete insult”.

He added: “We have been left with a life sentence without our beautiful little girl whose precious life was stolen from us. Finally we can say it as it is, Boparan is a child killer.”

Boparan is the son of Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan, who run the 2 Sisters Food Group, the third largest food company in the UK by turnover with an annual revenue of £3.4 billion, and is heir to a £800 million poultry business fortune.

He was previously convicted of dangerous driving in April 2008 but released just six months into a 21-month sentence.

<em>The crash caused severe injuries to Cerys (Picture: PA)</em>
The crash caused severe injuries to Cerys (Picture: PA)

Prosecutor Simon Davis described the case as “a short-lived piece of aggressive driving”, with Boparan driving at speeds up to 80mph in a 30mph limit.

Fellow motorists saw the then-teenager overtaking other cars and appearing as if it was about to lose control before ploughing head-on into a Jeep Cherokee driven by Cerys’s mother Tracey, with husband Mr Edwards a passenger, and their little girl securely fastened in a rear car seat.

Cerys was thrown from her baby seat and broke her spine, leaving her severely brain damaged and paralysed and needing round-the-clock care.

Despite undergoing dozens of major operations over the years, she died in hospital on October 17, 2015, just a month before her tenth birthday.

Following Cerys’s death, police reopened the case and a post mortem revealed she had died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.

Boparan could have faced 14 years in prison if Cerys had died at the time but instead served just six months in prison.

The outrage over the sentence sparked a national campaign that led to changes that means anyone convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving now faces up to five years in prison instead of the previous maximum of two.

Cerys was awarded £5 million compensation in 2012, along with a guaranteed annual payout of £450,000 to help pay for her annual care bill.

Before sentencing, 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.”

He said married father-of-two Boparan, who had a conviction for assault and violent disorder in 2015, had raised £10 million over 10 years with his father through setting up the Boparan Charitable Trust for children with disabilities. His father also made a £200,000 payment to Cerys’s parents to buy a house suitable for her needs.

Immediately following sentence, Mr Sturman made an 11th-hour application for bail, pending an appeal of sentence, but the judge rejected the legal bid.