Drink-driver jailed for Bestival music fan death

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Henry Minns
Image caption,
Henry Minns was knocked down as he walked near the festival site

A drink-driver has been jailed for four years for causing the death of a teenager evicted from a music festival.

Henry Minns, 19, from Penryn, Cornwall, was walking near the Bestival camp on the Isle of Wight in September last year when he was knocked over.

James Slater, of Heene Terrace, Worthing, drove away from the scene and was later found hiding under a hedge.

Slater, 33, pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court to causing death by careless driving.

He was jailed for four years and banned from driving for five years.

A 20-year-old woman from Shrewsbury, who was walking with Mr Minns at the time of the crash, suffered injuries to her legs and head.

Police dog

Mr Minns, who was in fancy dress, was walking along the road in Newport shortly after midnight on Sunday 12 September after being thrown out of the popular festival for not having an entry wristband.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "Mr Slater failed to stop at the scene of the collision, continuing to drive towards Ryde.

"He crashed the Ford Focus into the hedgerow approximately two miles further east along Mersley Down Road.

"Mr Slater, who then left the scene of the crashed car, was tracked and found hiding under a hedge approximately 400 metres away thanks to the skills of a police dog."

Image caption,
Slater was found hiding under a hedge after the crash

The spokesman said a breath test showed Slater had 71 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, which is twice the drink-drive limit of 35 microgrammes.

Insp Martin Goodall, of Hampshire police's roads policing unit, said: "Our thoughts remain with the family of Henry Minns after his life was tragically ended in a collision on our roads.

"This case was a challenge for the police officers and staff from other agencies who had to act with both speed and skill on a main road at night outside one of the year's biggest and busiest entertainment events."

Mr Minns, a talented musician, was described by his family as "gregarious and outgoing" with a "huge zest for life".

"Henry loved music, played violin and guitar - classical and contemporary - and had started learning the double bass," they said.

"He had just finished his foundation year at Falmouth College of Arts and was working for a printer in Penryn while deciding on his future in music, architecture or graphic design.

"Henry had a very happy Cornish childhood and was greatly loved by his family and by his many close friends."

A 20-year-old man from Wales, also arrested in relation to the collision, was released from bail with no further action last year.

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