‘What kind of person leaves their best friend to die?’ Coward caused horror smash then fled as his mate from him took his last breath


A disqualified driver who drove around Stalybridge like he was in a ‘rally car’ smashed into an Audi – before leaving his best friend to die in the road.

David Chorlton, 27, had been driving a Ford Focus with four passengers, including his friend of 10-years, Philip Ogden, in the car.

In May last year, Chorlton was caught on CCTV speeding around Stalybridge and doing handbrake turns, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

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As he came to a junction with Bayley Street, he failed to give way and ploughed into an oncoming Audi A3, sending both cars spiraling out of control. The smash ejected 32-year-old Mr Ogden from the passenger seat.

Rather than help his friend who lay dying in the road, though, five minutes after the collision Chorlton was picked up by a VW Golf and fled.

Mr Ogden had catastrophic injuries and sadly died 45 minutes later.

Chorlton pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, driving with no insurance and no licence, and on Wednesday (February 2) was jailed for 10 years.

Ford Focus was ‘being driven dangerously’

Nicola Caroll, prosecuting, said that Chorlton had been caught in January 2021 driving an Audi despite being banned from the roads in December 2020.

But four months later, on May 9 last year, shortly before 11pm, he was behind the wheel again, in a Ford Focus carrying Chorlton, Mr Ogden and two others as it was captured on CCTV driving dangerously. None of the passengers were wearing their seatbelts, the prosecutor said.

“At 22.53pm the vehicle was seen driving on High Street at speed,” she said.

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“The vehicle is also seen to be performing a handbrake turn into a cul-de-sac. It is unclear what happens for the next two to three minutes before the car emerges and performs another handbrake turn before driving off at speed.

David Chorlton

“At the junction with Bridge Street and Bayley Street, I ignored the give way and was driving above the speed limit of 30 miles per hour when he collided with the Audi A3.”

The Audi spun 180 degrees, and the driver said he saw the car coming and tried to brake but was unable to avoid the collision.

In footage played to the court, as the Ford Focus made the second handbrake turn, the wheels could be heard to screech against the road.

Mr Ogden had been ejected from his seat and was found near the bumper of the car.

The other three passengers were seen to ‘drag’ his body to the back of the car before being challenged by the Audi driver.

As he went to call the emergency services he was told by one of the passengers: “No police, no police”.

Five minutes later a VW Golf arrived and picked up Chorlton, the court heard.

Two passersby came to assist with CPR, but sadly Mr Ogden died from his injuries which included a fractured sternum, a laceration to the lungs and aorta, and a fractured pelvis.

“Despite the defendant and the associates running from the scene, Mr Ogden was not alone when he died,” Ms Caroll added.

‘You killed my son and I can’t forgive you’

In a statement read to the court, Mr Ogden’s mum said: “My beautiful son Philip was the most caring, kind-hearted person I have ever met, he would do anything for anybody – he had so many friends and would be there for each and every one of them.

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“He had a baby boy and when he was born Philip was so proud and couldn’t wait to tell me – he was bursting with pride.

“He won’t get to watch him get older and grow up. He wo n’t be able to help him grow into a strong young man like his father from him and because of your selfish actions, that have been taken away from Philip and his son from him.

Philip Ogden

“I went down to the place where it happened and it was all taped off – all I could think about was him lying there with nobody to care for him.

“What kind of person leaves their best friend on the road to die?

“You decided to put my son, and everyone else on the road, in danger – you killed my son and I can’t forgive you. You are a coward.”

Mitigating, Adam Watkins said: “Mr Chorlton acknowledged he was the driver of that vehicle – it does not begin to undo the cowardice he had shown, after leaving somebody in the street that he described as his ‘best friend’.

“You have read the letter he gave to the court – he and Philip Ogden were friends, best friends, for 10 years.

“His grief is genuine – he refers to him as the ‘best, most helpful lad’ he ever knew.

“He says he wishes he could turn back time.”

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Sentencing, Judge Paul Lawton said: “I have seen the CCTV, there is no attempt by you to slow down or stop, you went straight through at full speed and as a result, both you and the Audi spun out of control.

“It must have been obvious that he was seriously injured, you thought only about yourself.

“Philip Ogden was 32, he had a baby son and had everything to live for – there is a shroud of misery of grief in his family.

“You were driving around as if in a rally car.”

Chorlton, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 10 years and banned from driving for 15 years.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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