'Foolish prank' led to death of best pal
A MAN who accidentally killed his best friend while the pair were "clowning around" has been jailed for two years.
Dad of four Carlo Renzi, 31, of Port Tennant, died after falling from the roof of his best friend's car after the pair had spent the afternoon drinking.
Swansea Crown Court heard Tyrone Powell, 27, was driving near the Union Inn pub in Port Tennant when Mr Renzi jumped onto the roof of his Ford Fiesta.
He could not hang on and Mr Renzi fell off, later dying of his injuries.
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Mr Renzi's wife, Claire, who was in the car when the accident happened on November 12, said the pair were "clowning around".
"It was silly and foolish. It was a stupid prank that went wrong," she said. "Carlo was a clown. He loved clowning around, that's how he was."
She said Powell, of Waun Wen Road, Townhill, who pleaded guilty to careless driving while under the influence of alcohol, and her husband were "like brothers".
Powell's barrister John Hipkin said: "The defendant and Carlo were the best of friends. He wouldn't have set out to hurt Carlo deliberately because he loved him like a brother.
"They were always joking together. This was a joke, which as Claire Renzi said, went tragically wrong.
"This is a defendant who acknowledges the pain that he has caused to the family in question.
"There's nothing he can do to turn the clock back and bring his best friend back to those who loved him."
The court was told that Mr Renzi and Powell had been out drinking in Port Tennant in the afternoon and had consumed around six pints.
Mr Renzi asked Powell to collect his wife from the couple's home so they could join Powell and his girlfriend to watch a band.
When a customer challenged him on whether he was safe to drive, Powell replied: "I'm fine, it's only round the corner."
Powell and his girlfriend then collected Mrs Renzi before the trio returned to Ysgol Street in Port Tennant at 7.35pm. As they drove along the road they saw Mr Renzi on his mobile phone and stopped alongside him.
Mrs Renzi told her husband to meet them in the pub and her husband high-fived her goodbye.
Swansea Crown Court heard the two friends began play fighting through the window before Powell began to slowly drive off.
Mrs Renzi said her husband did not seem drunk but said he was "full of life".
Powell then drove away, and Mrs Renzi said she did not know her husband had jumped onto the roof.
Powell later told police he "panicked" after seeing Mr Renzi, a former Welsh Guard, clinging onto the roof.
After hearing a "thud" he stopped the car and ran to his friend. He held him as Mrs Renzi ran to the pub to get help. Mr Renzi was pronounced dead at 8.28pm.
Powell told several witnesses and friends that he did not know Mr Renzi had been on the roof of the car and kept repeating "sorry".
The court heard Powell then left the scene of the accident.
At 10.40pm friends and his father took him to the police station to hand himself in.
Mr Hipkin, mitigating, said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and said there had been wrongdoing from both men during the incident.
He said Mr Powell would have to deal with the loss of his best friend.
The court was told Powell's blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was 110 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 micrograms.
Powell also had three previous convictions for driving while disqualified and without insurance.
Judge Huw Davies QC said the case was one of the most "unusual" he had come across.
"No sentence of imprisonment, whatever its length, could possibly reflect the tragedy of loss and hurt which the family of the deceased have experienced," he said.
Banning Powell from driving for two years and jailing him for two years, he added: "They (the sentences) do not in any way reflect the tragedy of loss or the significance of the loss of Carlo Renzi to those who are his nearest and dearest."