A LAKES university student crashed a car containing seven passengers - including one in the boot.

Ryan McSepheny, 30, agreed to drive the Renault Clio after an eight-strong group left the Wheelhouse nightclub, Bowness-on-Windermere, during a night out in November, 2018.

Two women perched on other students’ knees while the Clio’s owner, Ashleigh Cupples, squeezed herself into the boot as they returned to their University of Cumbria accommodation in nearby Ambleside using the A591.

“The next thing she remembers is waking up as the car in which she was travelling was upside down having crashed,” prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told Carlisle Crown Court.

“And Mr McSepheny saying initially ‘you will have to take the rap for it’.

“A number of passengers in the car were pleading with him - some were screaming at him - that he was driving too fast for the bends he was trying to negotiate on a winding Lakeland road.”

Some had been “thrown around” as corners were taken “harshly”, McSepheny travelling “inappropriately” before colliding with a stone wall near the Low Wood Bay hotel.

One woman suffered a shoulder cut which needed stitches.

Other injuries were limited to whiplash, grazing and bruising, and the Clio was written off.

A probation officer told the court McSepheny, who admitted dangerous driving, had left university after the crash due to the “mental anguish” he was experiencing.

“He expressed his remorse, full responsibility for the offence,” said the officer, “and the physical and psychological effect on the others, and I felt that was genuine.”

His barrister, Sarah Magill, spoke of the incident being a “salutary wake-up call”.

A nine-month jail term was suspended for two years.

McSepheny, now of Sheffield Street, Carlisle, must complete 125 hours’ unpaid work, a year’s driving ban and re-test.

Judge Peter Davies said: “You could easily have ended up with one or more people dying, and you would be getting a double-figure prison sentence.”