Man died 'when wife pulled car handbrake'

A motorist died when his wife grabbed the handbrake of their car during a row and crashed into another vehicle, a court has heard.

Caroline Meeking, 45, and her husband Alan, 49, of Illminster, were driving home to Somerset after spending the day drinking in Bridport.

Bristol Crown Court heard that as they travelled on the A3088 on 30 August last year they were arguing and Mrs Meeking pulled the handbrake.

She denies her husband's manslaughter.

After Mrs Meeking grabbed the handbrake their silver Ford Escort was sent into a spin and it collided side-on at speed with a car coming in the opposite direction.

Blood tests

Mr Meeking suffered fatal injuries and was declared dead at the scene by medics.

Motorists who came to the aid of the couple described Mrs Meeking as shouting repeatedly: "I am sorry, it's all my fault. That's my husband, it's all my fault."

Blood tests carried out afterwards found that Mr Meeking, who was 5ft 9in tall and weighed more than 17 stone, had a blood alcohol level of 168mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

The legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood, meaning he was more than twice over the limit.

The court heard that the speed limit on the road was 60mph and police investigators believed Mr Meeking had been travelling "very close" to that speed when the crash happened.

The trial continues.

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