THE family of an "amazing" young woman who was killed at an illegal car cruise say that "lessons need to be learned to stop this happening to others."

Sophie Louise Smith, aged 19 from Radcliffe, was killed after a BMW struck a group of pedestrians in Europa Way, Trafford Park, on May 31 last year.

Sophie was taken to Salford Royal Hospital but she died the following day.

A week-long jury inquest found that Sophie, who worked as a barista at the Costa drive-thru in Lower Bridgeman Street, died after being "struck by a car, driven by an uninsured, unlicensed person while he was performing a dangerous manoeuvre", known as drifting.

The jury also concluded that the partnership response to illegal car cruising events "was ineffective."

Car cruises are illegal gatherings of motor enthusiasts where people discuss vehicles, meet friends, and in some cases, carry out dangerous driving manoeuvres including speeding, racing and drifting.

Sophie's family said: "This past year has been the worst of our lives, having to cope with losing Sophie and then having to relive it all again at the inquest.

"Dangerous driving destroys lives. All this could have been prevented, and while we have now been given some answers on what happened at Trafford Park, it will never bring Sophie back to us.

"We really hope that lessons can be learned from our tragedy as we don't want any other family to go through what we have."

The inquest found that Sophie died as a result of a traumatic brain injury sustained during the high impact collision.

Last July, the driver, Scott Watkins, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing death while driving without a licence and insurance, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident.

In August, Watkins, then aged 25, of Worsley Road North, Salford, was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison and banned from driving for 14 years.

Speaking at Manchester South Coroner’s Court, the jury spokeswoman said: "It was during a dangerous driving manouevre that Sophie was struck. She subsequently died in hospital as a result of a catastrophic injury.

"Although individuals representing Greater Manchester Police and Trafford Council acted with good intentions, the joint partnership approach did not work.

"Even though car cruising had been indicated as an issue as early as 2014, the plan was ineffective at the time of Sophie's death.

"In addition, limited resources, complex logistics, bureaucracy and poor communication all contributed to an ineffective and slow response to prevent the circumstances surrounding Sophie's death."

Senior coroner Alison Mutch will issue a report to prevent future deaths to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Home Office.

She said: "It was clear from the evidence that car cruising is not a problem particular to Trafford, but to Greater Manchester, and indeed a national problem.

"It seems to me that a report to prevent future death needs to be issued in relation to tackling car cruising. In this particular case, Sophie has died because of this, but many other people could have lost their lives that night.

"Drifting puts lives of members of the public at risk whenever it occurs and for that reason a report will be issued. For their information, copies will also be given to Greater Manchester Police and Trafford Council."

The coroner thanked members of the jury for their work and "diligence and sensitivity" throughout the week-long inquest.

The families of three of those injured, Sophie’s boyfriend Jordan Chidgey, from Radcliffe, Dan Robinson and Colin Burton, both from Eccles, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to support them through the legal process.

Both Jordan, 25, and Colin, 33, suffered multiple injuries in the incident and were hospitalised whilst Dan, 34, also suffered injury.

Matthew Garson, the lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family said: "This week has been incredibly difficult for everyone affected by this tragic incident.

"Sophie's family are still understandably distraught after losing their daughter in such a horrific way, and I hope that the end of the inquest will bring some closure to them and help them to move on from what has been a terribly tough year.

"Dangerous driving impacts on so many people.

"Lessons need to be learned now so we can stop this happening to others."