Shocking moment hit-and-run driver, 31, races at 90mph in a 30mph zone moments before killing French entrepreneur, 24, as he is jailed for ten years

  • Aaron Blackwood-Jones crashed into Celia Betrouni when she was crossing road
  • Blackwood-Jones sped through red light and cut across traffic in black VW Golf
  • He then crashed into Celia Betrouni who had been crossing the road with friend

A hit-and-run driver who was caught on camera racing at 90mph in a 30mph zone just moments before killing a French entrepreneur has been jailed today for 10 years.

Aaron Blackwood-Jones was driving on Brixton Hill, south London, in January earlier this year when he was caught on CCTV driving at 60mph over the speed limit. 

The 31-year-old, who was at the wheel of a black VW Golf, sped down through a red light and cut across traffic before he then mowed down 24-year-old Celia Betrouni as she crossed the road with a friend at 12.25am.

Ms Betrouni was struck with such force she was thrown 10 feet into the air and around 160 feet down the road from the point of collision.

The driver zoomed away from the scene with a shattered windscreen and left the victim and her personal belongings lying across the single carriageway.

He dumped the vehicle at a family friend’s before buying a cover the next morning to conceal the damage to its front.

Emergency services were called but Ms Betrouni was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.45am.

Blackwood-Jones handed himself in on January 14 after checking social media to find a police hunt had been launched before pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of a collision.

Aaron Blackwood-Jones, 31, was caught on camera racing down Brixton Hill, south London, in January earlier this year

The victim’s mother Zohra told the court today in a victim impact statement how she ‘walks the streets of Marseille hoping to see her’.

She choked back tears as she spoke about her ‘generous, positive, brilliant’ young daughter.

Ms Betrouni had a ‘hugely promising’ future after moving to London to work for luxury brands Maje and Claude Pierlot. 

The gallery was packed with weeping family members and friends clutching photos of her while the killer’s family sat on the opposite side of the room.

Turning directly to face Blackwood-Jones, Ms Betrouni’s mother said: ‘First of all I would like to ask you why? Why did you leave?

Blackwood-Jones (pictured) admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars

‘Why did you run away?

‘Why were you driving so fast? Why did you leave my daughter to die on the ground?

‘I would like you to know that you’ve taken away my life.

Blackwood-Jones had previously given an interview described by his own barrister as ‘appalling’ which Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith said ‘reeked of self-pity.’

The father-of-five acknowledged he was behind the wheel but denied driving dangerously or causing death until weeks before the trial on November 18.

Prosecutor Louise Oakley said: ‘On January 12 he was driving a VW Golf on Brixton Hill London in the direction of Streatham, a single-carriageway road managed by Transport for London.

‘The speed limit is 30mph.

‘[Ms Betrouni] got off a number 45 bus in the company of a friend. Together they attempted to cross Brixton Hill.

‘When they first began to cross the road it would have been clear and neither would it have come into contact with any vehicle coming south.

‘However as she made her way across Brixton Hill she was struck by the front centre of the defendant’s vehicle.

‘That caused her to be propelled down the road landing approximately 30 metres (98ft) from the point of impact. 

‘She then continued to slide a further 20 metres (65ft) along the road.

‘She sustained serious injuries and she died in fact at the scene.

‘A doctor with the London air ambulance service pronounced her death at 0.44am.

‘The defendant having hit her did not stop. He continued his journey for approximately one further mile.

Blackwood-Jones, who was at the wheel of a black VW Golf, cut across traffic before mowing down Celia Betrouni, 24, (pictured) as she crossed the road with a friend at 12.25am

‘That vehicle was recovered by police the following day and examined. The damage was consistent with an impact from a pedestrian.

‘A witness near the point of impact saw the defendant’s vehicle pass him and he heard a loud bang and crunch noise and saw what he described as an object flying in the air about 10 feet over the vehicle.

‘That of course we now know to be Celia Betroni.

‘Having fled the scene and in effect dumped the vehicle that morning he went out to Halfords to buy a cover to hide the vehicle.

‘So he went out to make a special purchase.’

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith remarked: ‘[Blackwood-Jones’s] interview reeked of self pity. It was all me, I can’t believe this has happened to me, I had to tell my son what happened.

‘Then at the very end he says he’s terribly sorry for the family.

‘Well he didn’t feel so terribly sorry for the family that he did what he should have done.’

Blackwood-Jones hurried away from the scene with a shattered windscreen (pictured) and dumped the vehicle at a family friend’s before buying a cover the next morning to conceal the damage

Gregory Fishwick, defending, said Blackwood-Jones had failed to take responsibility because he had found it too ‘surreal’.

Mr Fishwick said: ‘The interview is appalling, I agree. But he looked at his own five children that weekend and he thought about how he’d feel and that distressed him.

‘His family can’t believe what he’s done.

‘In the interview he said he was going to meet a friend from a wine bar.

‘He found it almost impossible to reflect upon his actions that night.

‘He simply could not look and find it in his heart immediately.

‘He’s tried to think back to why he didn’t stop and the words he used to me were surreal, it was a surreal thing happening.

‘That’s as much as I can help with.’

During sentencing today, Judge Lorraine-Smith said: ‘Celia Betrouni has a hugely promising life ahead of her and her death has completely devastated her family and her friends as you have seen and you were responsible for her death.

‘No sentence that I can pass can turn back the clock.

‘There can be absolutely no doubt that this was a level one offence involving as it did a decision to ignore all the rules of the road.

‘You drove through a red light, undertook vehicles, drove at speeds up to 90mph.

‘You shake your head you disagree with everything that is put in front of you you will not accept anything.

‘When you hit and killed Ms Betrouni you didn’t even slow down, you drove away trying to avoid detection by driving down a one-way street and then the next day going to buy a cover for the car to hide how extensively damaged it was.

‘After looking at social media and seeing the press requests you decided the best thing to do was to admit responsibility but claim that you hadn’t been driving dangerously and that it was Ms Betrouni who stepped out into your path.

‘The evidence shows that was completely untrue and even after you had been told about the expert evidence and had been told about the CCTV you chose to plead not guilty and thereby extend the agony of this family for whom all this could have been over.

‘There is in fact more credit than you deserve in your plea because it meant that they didn’t have to listen to a few days of a trial.

‘The starting point is eight years with a range of seven to 14.

‘This was a deliberate decision by you to drive extremely fast through central London at night and I still have an explanation as to why you did it.

‘I’m bound to conclude that you were doing it for the fun of it.

‘You drove while disqualified twice in 2006, without a license in 2014.

‘It must have been obvious that someone was at the very least seriously injured.

‘Driving off in a car that it must have been almost impossible to see through the windscreen.

Blackwood-Jones, of Vauxhall Street, Lambeth, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. 

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