A man who killed an Upminster university graduate when he ploughed a stolen van into an Uber she was travelling in has been jailed.

Ashley Loveday, 39, was driving a Peugeot Boxer van the wrong way when the crash happened on the A13 in Dagenham, early on November 25 last year.

Grace Payne was in the passenger seat of the Uber vehicle, a Toyota Prius, and was killed.

Uber driver, Sundar Ali, 59, was taken to the Royal London Hospital with a wounded spleen and fractures to his right collar bone, left upper arm bone and bone at the base of his right thumb.

Loveday was sentenced at the Old Bailey today (March 9).

Romford Recorder: Ashley Loveday has been jailed for 14 yearsAshley Loveday has been jailed for 14 years (Image: Met Police)

Grace, 21, was described by her parents as a “caring, compassionate, bright, funny, bubbly” person who loved children. She planned to become a primary school teacher one day, and had graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in history and philosophy.

Her parents said in a victim statement: “We are struggling to come to terms with the fact that our daughter will never be coming home."

The court heard Mr Ali’s brain function is impaired and that he experiences painful headaches and forgetfulness. He has lost his livelihood and is traumatised by what happened, he said in a victim impact statement.

Read More: Parents pay tribute to Upminster woman killed in A13 crash

Loveday, of Avondale Road, Canning Town, pleaded guilty to causing Grace’s death and causing serious injury to Mr Ali by his dangerous driving.

Loveday also admitted aggravated vehicle taking of the van on or before November 22 last year.

On the evening of the crash, he sped at 85mph in 30 and 40mph zones, up to 97mph in another 30mph zone and at between 70mph and 90mph in a 50mph zone on the A13 while travelling into oncoming traffic.

He also drove through red lights and pedestrian crossings.

Judge Mark Dennis KC told him: “Your actions on that fateful night in November last year involved driving at the highest level of dangerousness to others in a prolonged and determined course of dangerous driving, leaving in its wake two victims.

“It has caused indescribable anguish for many and irreparable harm.

“It was perhaps only pure chance that others were not also harmed at one stage or another in that dreadful course of driving.”

Loveday was jailed for 14 years and disqualified from driving for 19 years and four months from today.

He will serve at least two thirds of his sentence before he is released on licence.

Loveday has been convicted of 81 offences on 54 occasions between 2000 and 2022, the court heard.

His previous convictions include aggravated vehicle taking, wounding, affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

At the time of the offence, he did not have a driving licence, was uninsured to drive the van and was wanted for breaching court orders.

Loveday has never passed a driving test, the court heard.

Rakesh Bhasin, defending, said his client is “extremely distressed” over what he did and is remorseful.

Reporting by PA.