A drunk driver was on the wrong side of the road and driving almost three times the speed limit when he crashed into an Uber, killing one of the passengers.
Toni & Guy academy head receptionist Franca Grossi, 52, was driving home with friends in an Uber after a night out when Steve Boochoon, 25, made a career out of his car.
The mother-of-two was killed while two others, including the driver, were injured in the crash at Hornsey Rise, Haringey, north London, at around 12.10am on August 13.
The car was going between 54 and 57 mph on a 20 mph road.
Boochoon was so drunk he laughed when he got out of his wrecked car, the Old Bailey has heard.
Ms Grossi was walking home with her best friend of 20 years, creative director of Toni & Guy, Francesco Fontana, 48, after enjoying a drink at the Bloomsbury Tavern in central London.
Mr Fontana escaped with cuts and bruises, but Ms Grossi died of her injuries the following day.
Prosecutor Ben Holt said: ‘The defendant was driving a Volkswagen Golf along Hornsey Rise.
Victim Franca Grossi, 52, right, pictured with her 20-year-old friend Francesco Fontana
“At the time he was banned from driving, had no insurance and was on the wrong side of the road.
“His speed was at least 50mph with a 20mph limit.
“His car collided with an Uber taxi outside the forecourt of a BP petrol station.”
Ms Grossi’s husband, James Manns, read an impact statement in court, placing a picture of his wife on the front of the witness box.
He said: “The murder of my wife and the mother of our two young daughters has devastated us.
“We still cannot and I doubt we will accept this tragedy.
“Every day I feel bad in the pit of my stomach and I will never get over the image in my head of when I was with Franca the day she died in hospital. A piece of me also died that day.
The driver escaped with cuts and bruises but Ms Grossi, pictured, died of her injuries
“It also devastated her mother, her four sisters and her nieces, having to come to terms with the fact that she was wrongfully taken from us so soon.
“She was a young, kind, generous, passionate and happy woman who always laughed and helped people with such sincere honesty and love.
“The loss of Franca and the impact of her death has caused tremendous financial stress for me and our two daughters with paying rent, bills and food a daily concern.
“I am left with anger and hatred towards Steve Boochoon that I have never felt towards anyone in my life before.
“I will never forgive or forget what he did.”
Looking at Boochoon in the dock, he said, “He destroyed me and my life will never be the same again.”
He added that his eldest daughter was too traumatized to make an impact statement.
Mr Holt said the Uber driver described seeing something flying towards him so fast he didn’t realize it was a car.
Following the incident, police asked Boochoon if he had been drinking, to which he replied, “I only had two shots, bro.”
Police reported that there was a strong smell of alcohol on Boochoon, his eyes were bloodshot, and he looked unsteady.
A policeman asked him if he found the situation funny, and he said yes.
Boochoon tried to blame the taxi driver for the accident.
Shattered glass bottles and drug paraphernalia, including rolling papers, were found in his car.
Mr Fontana told the court: “Dear Franca, I have been trying to write about my life without you for nine weeks.”
“I didn’t want to because writing or talking about it makes it real.
“The truth is that it is real and nothing can be done or said to change or improve it.
“It is not possible to express in words the impact Steve Boochoon’s dangerous driving has had on my life.
“Most people wake up from a nightmare but I wake up every morning with a real one. I find it difficult to work and I am no longer the same person as before.
“It’s been beautiful having you in my life for 20 years.
“From the first time we met, I knew this was going to be the start of a beautiful friendship. Both from Italy, we didn’t have a lot of money, we didn’t speak much English but we were chasing our dreams.
“It was amazing to have my best friend working with me. Since then, you’re the first person I see when I walk through the door and normally the last.
“It has not only broken the hearts of your many friends and family, but also others, people around the world, customers and students here at work for 18 years.
“90% of the people who come in ask what happened to you and then we have to relive the trauma and see other people break down.
“I don’t understand why dangerous people are left on our streets when you won’t be around to watch your daughters grow up.”
Boochoon has a previous conviction for drunk driving, which is why he was disqualified on the day of the offense.
His lawyer, Peter Rowlands, said it was not a prolonged or persistent speeding and that Boochoon had shown genuine remorse.
Boochoon had good character references from the staff at the restaurant where he worked.
He also previously worked at a real estate agency, the court heard.
Boochoon, of Brook Road, Hornsey, admitted causing death by dangerous driving, causing death while driving while disqualified, causing death while driving without insurance and operating a motor vehicle in a public place without insurance .
He was taken into custody ahead of his sentencing tomorrow.
. driver drunk who after having killed passenger dUber risk of years jail