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Dangerous driver jailed after killing 'beloved' student

Joshua Gregory

A dangerous driver who killed a university student while trying to evade police has been jailed.

Joshua Gregory killed Nottingham Trent University postgraduate student Oshada Jayasundera when his Ford Focus ST hit him at speed as the 31-year-old was crossing the road.

Oshada, described by the university as an ‘engaged and committed’ student who was well respected by his peers and tutors, was with a group of friends when he was struck in Huntingdon Street, Nottingham city centre.

He was treated by police officers and paramedics but sadly died at the scene of the collision which happened shortly after 3.20am on 13 December 2023.

After hitting Oshada, Gregory continued to drive up Huntingdon Street before his car smashed into a traffic light and bollard.

The 28-year-old, of Westfield Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, ran off but was quickly detained and arrested.

Prior to the collision, police officers had been following the Ford Focus ST which was showing as having no insurance and no current keeper. The vehicle was also seen weaving in and out of the road.

A pursuit commenced after Gregory failed to stop. He accelerated away from officers, despite officers activating their blue lights and sirens.

Gregory ignored a no entry sign and drove the wrong way down a one-way street as he tried to escape police before he turned onto Huntingdon Street.

Nottinghamshire Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following the collision.

The IOPC investigation found that police officers involved in the pursuit had acted appropriately in the circumstances.

Gregory was subsequently charged and went on to plead guilty to causing death by dangerous driving.

He was jailed for nine years and was banned from driving for12 years when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday (28 March 2024).

The judge, Recorder Paul Mann, said Gregory had treated city roads like a ‘racetrack’ and driven dangerously in a ‘prolonged, persistent and deliberate’ manner.

20231219-Oshada-Jayasundara.jpg

In a statement, Oshada’s family, who live in Sri Lanka, said:

“Our beloved Oshada Jayasundera was very close to our hearts and can never be forgotten.

"He travelled to Great Britain to obtain his third master's degree in project management. During his stay in Britain, he was a studious, humble, law abiding, cooperative, agreeable, and resourceful person who displayed leadership qualities.

"Our family will never recover from this loss for the rest of our lives. We will have to live with it, suffering every single second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, and all the years to come.

"This is a huge loss for us, and I hope no one will endure this pain that we are suffering."

Sergeant Mark Baker, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said:

“First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Oshada’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“Gregory’s actions resulted in devastating consequences. He showed a total lack of regard for the safety of others by driving in the way he did which led to the needless loss of an innocent life.

“He showed absolutely no regard for Oshada’s life by speeding away following the collision, in a desperate attempt to avoid capture.

“Now he has been jailed, I hope it brings some degree of closure to Oshada’s family and friends now that the case has been concluded.” 

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