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Ethan Couch, Teen Drink Driver, Spared Jail Due To 'Affluenza' After Killing Four People

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A Texas teenager who hit and killed four people while driving drunk has been spared jail due to "affluenza" - being too wealthy to realise the consequences of his actions.

Instead of the 20-year prison sentence demanded by prosecutors, Ethan Couch, 16, will attend ten years' probation at a private £275,200-a-year rehabilitation centre, paid for by his parents.

Couch was driving an SUV three times over the drink-drive limit with seven friends after stealing beer from a supermarket.

ethan couch

Ethan Couch

While driving 70mph in a 40mph zone they struck another vehicle that had stopped by the side of the road with a flat tyre.

Its driver and three people who had come to her assistance were killed. Two of Couch's passengers were seriously injured- one can no longer move or speak.

Despite the severity of the incident, psychologist, Dr G Dick Miller, testified in court that Couch had been so indulged by his parent growing up that they never established boundaries for his behaviour.

A year previous to the accident he had been found in a parked vehicle with an unconscious and naked 14-year-old girl, an incident his parents never punished him for.

Florida psychologist Dr Gary Buffone called the verdict "laughable".

He said: "Not only haven't the parents set any consequences, but it's being reinforced by the judge's actions."

Eric Boyles, who lost his wife Hollie, 52, and daughter Shelby, 21, said money had saved the boy a prison sentence.

He said: "Ultimately today, I felt that money did prevail. If [he] had been any other youth, I feel like the circumstances would have been different."