Epping Forest: Unlicensed driver jailed for causing girlfriend's death
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An unlicenced driver who admitted leaving his fatally injured girlfriend behind in the car he was driving after it crashed, has been jailed.
Nathan Towers of Broadoaks, Epping, was jailed for a total of four years and three months when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday 30 May.
The 33-year-old was sentenced to 3 years for causing death by careless driving and further sentenced for perverting the course of justice and fraud after he had pleaded guilty to multiple charges when he appeared at the same court on 25 April.
The family of Jess Waterman who died following the collision paid tribute to her at the time saying, “Jess was beautiful inside and out” and that she was “tragically taken” from them just three days before her 21st birthday.
Saturday 19 February, 2022
At around 10.30pm on Saturday 19 February 2022, our Force Control Room received four 999 calls from a man who claimed he had come across a single vehicle collision in which the passenger was badly injured in Houblons Hill, Epping.
When officers attended, they found a woman in the passenger seat of a red Mini. She had sustained a head injury and was unresponsive. No one else was present.
Jess Waterman, 20, from Bishop’s Stortford, was taken to hospital, but, sadly, she died there less than 24 hours later.
Jess’s family explained at the time of her death that they couldn’t describe the pain of losing their “beautiful daughter” and “treasured, older sister”.
On the night of the collision, officers traced Nathan Towers to the Broadoaks address where the washing machine was running a cycle of muddy clothes despite it being 1.30 am, now the following day.
After Nathan Towers’ arrest, his mobile phone was found hidden between the bed slats: the mobile number matched the phone number used to call police.
During interview, Nathan Towers told the investigating officers that he had bought the car a few days earlier, but that a friend was driving that evening.
Doorbell footage showed Nathan Towers arriving to pick Jess up earlier in the evening and the red Mini could be seen in the background. It recorded Nathan Towers arriving in the clothing recovered from the washing machine.
Following enquiries by the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, Nathan Towers was charged with causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice. He was also charged with fraud by false representation (giving false details to an insurance company) and causing death whilst unlicenced and uninsured to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 28 March.
Beautiful, vibrant and caring
Following sentence on Tuesday 30 May, the Waterman family’s statement read:
“Today we have seen some justice for our beloved daughter Jess, but we can never forgive or forget the cold, calm and calculated actions of Nathan Towers. “We trusted he would keep her safe that night. “Jess was going to turn 21 three days after the accident. She had been looking forward to celebrating her milestone birthday with her family and friends, but all arrangements had to be cancelled. The pain is indescribable. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone. “Our Jess was a beautiful, vibrant, and caring young woman who had touched the lives of so many. “No length of sentence will ever feel enough as nothing can bring her back. She was our light, and our world is a darker place without her. We will always love you, Jess. #TeamJess”
Never passed a driving test
The Waterman family went on to thank their Family Liaison Officer, PC Michele Lockyer for her invaluable help, support and guidance over the last 15 months.
Inspector Mark Fraser, Serious Collision Investigation Unit, who led the investigation, said:
“Nathan Towers flouted the law by driving his car despite never passing a driving test. That night, after losing control of his vehicle in a collision which tragically caused Jess to lose her life, he callously and selfishly fled the scene to avoid arrest, with no regard for Jess or her injuries. “Following a thorough investigation, he pleaded guilty to all the offences and has been sentenced for those matters, finally facing justice for his actions. “Jess’s family have lost both a daughter and a sister and no length of sentence will bring her back, but I hope today's sentencing brings some closure to a tragically sad event.”
We never got to say goodbye
Jess’s friends paid tribute to their friendship, love, support, and fun times together, each one explaining how their lives would never be the same, with one friend saying:
“I instantly knew we’d be friends” and “we promised we’d be there for each other forever.”
A second friend explained about the night she heard of Jess’s death:
“I was overwhelmed with a feeling of helplessness and disbelief, knowing that we never got to say goodbye.”
Another friend added:
“I’m just so thankful for the life we have shared together:”
The donations from Jess’s funeral were sent to a treatment centre where “Jess’s legacy of selfless love lives on” and those attending “gain freedom, hope and recovery.”
Nathan Towers was also charged with two counts of possession of cannabis, but received no separate penalty.