'Selfish' unlicensed driver left fatally injured girlfriend in car after Essex crash

Nathan Towers of Broadoaks, Epping, has been jailed <i>(Image: Essex Police)</i>
Nathan Towers of Broadoaks, Epping, has been jailed (Image: Essex Police)

An unlicenced driver who admitted leaving his fatally injured girlfriend behind in the car he was driving after it crashed has been jailed.

Nathan Towers of Broadoaks, Epping, was jailed for a total of four years and three months when he appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday (May 30).

The 33-year-old was sentenced to three years for causing death by careless driving and further sentenced for perverting the course of justice and fraud after he admitted to multiple charges when he appeared at the same court on April 25.

The family of Jess Waterman who died after the crash paid tribute to her at the time saying she was “beautiful inside and out” and “tragically taken” from them just three days before her 21st birthday.

Essex Police received four 999 calls from a man who claimed he had come across a single car crash in which the passenger was badly injured in Houblons Hill, Epping, at around 10.30pm on February 19 last year.

A woman was found by officers in the passenger seat of a red Mini. She had sustained a head injury and was unresponsive. No one else was present.

Jess Waterman, 20, from Bishop’s Stortford, was taken to hospital, but, sadly, she died there less than 24 hours later.

Echo: Jess Waterman's family said she was beautiful inside and out as they paid tribute to her
Echo: Jess Waterman's family said she was beautiful inside and out as they paid tribute to her

Jess Waterman's family said she was beautiful inside and out as they paid tribute to her (Image: Family handout / Essex Police)

Police traced Nathan Towers on the night of the crash to the Broadoaks address where the washing machine was running a cycle of muddy clothes.

After his arrest, his mobile phone was found hidden between the bed slats. The mobile number matched that used to call police.

During an interview, Towers told the investigating officers he had bought the car a few days earlier, but claimed a friend was driving that evening.

Police say doorbell footage showed Towers arriving to pick Jess up earlier in the evening and the red Mini could be seen in the background. It recorded him arriving in the clothing recovered from the washing machine.

Towers was charged with causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice, fraud by false representation - giving false details to an insurance company - and causing death whilst unlicenced and uninsured.

Following his sentence on May 30, the Waterman family’s statement read: “Today we have seen some justice for our beloved daughter Jess, but we can never forgive or forget the cold, calm and calculated actions of Nathan Towers.

“We trusted he would keep her safe that night.

“Jess was going to turn 21 three days after the accident. She had been looking forward to celebrating her milestone birthday with her family and friends, but all arrangements had to be cancelled. The pain is indescribable. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

“Our Jess was a beautiful, vibrant, and caring young woman who had touched the lives of so many.

“No length of sentence will ever feel enough as nothing can bring her back. She was our light, and our world is a darker place without her. We will always love you, Jess. #TeamJess”

The Waterman family went on to thank their Family Liaison Officer, PC Michele Lockyer for her invaluable help, support and guidance over the last 15 months.

Inspector Mark Fraser, Serious Collision Investigation Unit, who led the investigation, said: “Nathan Towers flouted the law by driving his car despite never passing a driving test. That night, after losing control of his vehicle in a collision which tragically caused Jess to lose her life, he callously and selfishly fled the scene to avoid arrest, with no regard for Jess or her injuries.

“Following a thorough investigation, he pleaded guilty to all the offences and has been sentenced for those matters, finally facing justice for his actions.

“Jess’s family have lost both a daughter and a sister and no length of sentence will bring her back, but I hope todays sentencing brings some closure to a tragically sad event.”

The donations from Jess’s funeral were sent to a treatment centre where “Jess’ legacy of selfless love lives on” and those attending “gain freedom, hope and recovery.”

Nathan Towers was also charged with two counts of possession of cannabis, but received no separate penalty.