A Bromborough motorist who ran down and killed Eastham schoolgirl Jennifer Williamson was travelling at twice the speed limit at the time, a court was told.

A judge told 21-year-old Andrews Stephens: "You are a menace behind the steering wheel. You have a reputation generally, and even within your body of friends, for driving far too fast speeds."

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Stephens had been driving at around twice the 30mph speed limit when the tragedy occurred and then, while on bail, he was again caught speeding in a borrowed car by a roadside camera.

He tried unsuccessfully to get a friend to pretend he had been driving and lied on a form. The police were told and Stephens was arrested.

Judge John Roberts told 21-year-old Stephens: "You caused the death of this young woman by driving at grossly excessive speed. Your totally dreadful driving deprived this young girl of her life and your lying to police was your deliberate attempt to strike at the heart of the administration of justice."

He sentenced him to five and a half years jail for causing the death of Jennifer Williamson by dangerous driving and six months consecutively for attempting to pervert the course of justice. He also banned him from driving for ten years.

Stephens, of Bowness Avenue, Bromborough, Wirral, pleaded guilty to both offences. The court heard he has two convictions for speeding.

Robert Jones, prosecuting, said that the tragedy occurred about 9pm, on Saturday, April 26, last year on Eastham Rake, Eastham, Wirral near the junction with Mill Park Drive. There is a 30mph speed limit on the single carriageway road.

Stephens was driving his G-registered Audi 80, which was a left hand drive, in a westerly direction as a group of five friends, including Jennifer, were crossing the road. He struck her causing multiple injuries and a 15-year-old boy was also injured but the others managed to leap for safety. Jennifer was pronounced dead at hospital.

Stephens' car veered onto the opposite side of the road and collided with oncoming traffic. A witness described his speed as between 60 - 70 mph and when interviewed Stephens admitted he had been speeding and said it was between 50 - 55 mph.

When interviewed Stephens did not accept responsibility for the accident and claimed a bus had obscured his view. Mr Jones said that the bus driver, who had pulled out of Mill Park Drive, told police that Stephens, who was coming in the opposite direction, squeezed between him and parked cars and he feared for the safety of the pedestrians crossing the road behind him.

On September 21, while on bail, Stephens was photographed travelling at 36mph through a 30mph section on the A6 at Chorley and later lied about it.

Gordon Cole, defending, said, "He accepts he is going to face a period of imprisonment. He is absolutely terrified of the ramifications of this offence. He totally accepts his responsibility for his driving which led to these tragic events."

He said that Stephens had pleaded guilty on the day he was due to face trial and offered no excuses for his driving.