A TEENAGER who caused the death of his friend in a car crash was yesterday jailed for 18 months.

Morgan Stanford, (pictured) of Gordon Road, Blackwood, lost control of his mother's Ford Fiesta on a bend on the A4048 at Rock Villas, near Argoed, on July 8 last year.

Warehouseman Wayne Davies, 18, of Aberbargoed, a front-seat passenger, was flung from the vehicle, suffering multiple injuries. He was pronounced dead at the Royal Gwent Hospital, in Newport.

Judge Roger Dutton told Cardiff crown court the seriousness of the offence made immediate imprisonment the only appropriate sentence.

Stanford's family and friends wept as the 19-year-old, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving, was led from the court. The families of both Mr Davies and Stanford were too upset to comment after the hearing.

The court heard the men and another friend, Gary Price, left Mr Davies' home in Bedwellty Road, Aberbargoed, to go go-karting in Newport on the afternoon of July 8. Prosecutor Emyr Jones said Stanford was doing at least 46mph in the 40mph zone - and possibly between 50mph and 60mph - when the accident occurred on the A4048 between Tredegar and Blackwood.

Skid marks also showed he was on the wrong side of the road. "The hatchback was open and it appears that it was through the back that Gary Price and Wayne Davies left the vehicle," he added. Neither passenger was wearing a seat-belt. Michael Jones, mitigating, said the tragic accident had caused deep distress to both families.

He described Stanford as a teenager from a stable family, who was a son any mother could be proud of - a "devastated" young man, racked with guilt about the accident, who wanted to publicly express his sympathy to the family of Mr Davies.

"He has had suicidal thoughts, which have since abated, but he has been left with a permanent mark," he added.

"He feels he should have insisted that his passengers wore their seat-belts and is racked with guilt for not ensuring their safety."

Judge Dutton said only an immediate custodial sentence could in any way appropriately reflect what had happened.

"This day will live with you, I am sure, for the rest of your life. It is evident that the events of that day had a marked effect on you," he added.

He imposed a five-year driving ban and ordered that Stanford take an extended driving test before he can drive again.

Residents of Rock Villas are campaigning for a lower speed limit of 30mph, and other traffic-calming measures.