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Family pay heartfelt tribute to son and brother killed in car crash

The family of a much-loved young farmer with ‘an infectious smile’ have lovingly paid tribute to their son and brother who died in a car crash.

Seventeen-year-old Jake Hankins from Stamford, Lincolnshire, tragically died on 22 September 2022, after a Mercedes he was a rear passenger in lost control and struck an oncoming vehicle in Southwell Road, Gonalston, shortly before 10.45 pm.

Jake had accepted a lift from 19-year-old Harvey Holehouse and got into the car alongside two others for the short journey back to his college.

Both were killed when the Mercedes struck an oncoming car, causing both vehicles to leave the carriageway.

Following an inquest, at Nottingham Coroner’s Court today (Tuesday 20 June), it was ruled Jake and Harvey both died as a result of a road traffic collision.

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In a statement, Jake’s family said: “Jake was a kind, gentle, and considerate young man – just starting to plan his life.

“He loved farming with an absolute passion and gained a great number of friends through his interests within the farming community.

“He has been described as having an infectious smile, but he was so much more than that to us.

“Words alone cannot describe the wonderful young man he was or the deep loss and pain we feel.

“Jake was our son, a little brother, a nephew, and a grandson and loved by so many people that all miss him dearly.

“Life without Jake just isn’t life.

“Jake was a rear seat passenger in a car driven by someone that he barely knew and had merely accepted a lift back to college – a 10-minute ride.

“This accident was caused by a complete act of recklessness and has completely devastated not just our lives, but many of the families and friends of those severely injured.

“There are far too many lives lost and serious injuries caused by inexperienced young drivers behind the wheel of powerful motor vehicles – our children’s lives on the roads need to be protected by setting a no passengers policy and mandatory fitting of a black box for under 25’s.

“We want to thank all the emergency services who attended the collision and Nottinghamshire Police for their ongoing support.

“We don’t want Jake to have died in vain and hope that lessons are learnt from this tragic incident.”

A further passenger from within the Mercedes and the driver of the vehicle travelling on the opposite side of the road suffered serious injuries from which they are still recovering.

There was a fourth passenger within the Mercedes who suffered minor injuries.

A thorough investigation by Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit found that the driver had been speeding at the time of the crash by travelling over 120mph in a 60mph zone in wet road conditions.

Case investigator Louise Melbourne, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Jake was taken from his family, friends, and everyone who knew him far too soon and our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with his family.

“This inquest will not bring Jake back, but I hope it gives his family some closure.

“Many people were affected by this incident and our thoughts are also with those still in recovery from their injuries and with all those impacted by what happened”.

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