Drink driver who killed woman in crash jailed

Published
image copyrightAvon and Somerset Police
image captionShaw was driving at twice the speed limit when he ignored a red light and smashed into Jenny Sell's car

A drink driver who killed a motorist after running a red light and colliding head on with her car has been jailed.

Matthew Shaw, 35, was driving at twice the 30mph (48.2kmh) speed limit when he ploughed into Jenny Sell's car in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, at about 22:30 BST on 31 July 2019.

Ms Sell, who was due to turn 21 two months later, died at the scene.

Her parents said Shaw's "selfish, reckless actions" mean they will endure "a lifetime sentence of grief".

Police found Shaw was one-and-a-half times over the legal limit for alcohol following the crash.

It happened on a single carriageway at the junction of Hayes Park Road and Northmead Road in Midsomer Norton.

image copyrightAvon and Somerset Police
image captionShaw used his Audi car to get from Wells to Midsomer Norton in just 12 minutes

Data downloaded from Shaw's Audi showed he had driven from Wells to Midsomer Norton in just 12 minutes, hitting top speeds of 105mph (169kmh).

When a police officer drove the same 10-mile (16km) route legally, it took 22 minutes.

'Folly and thoughtlessness'

Sentencing Shaw at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge William Hart said Ms Sell was killed "by folly and thoughtlessness and blatant disregard to the rules of the road".

Shaw, of no fixed abode, Shepton Mallet, admitted causing death by dangerous driving while above the legal alcohol limit and failing to comply with a drugs test.

For those offences he was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.

He also admitted taking a vehicle without consent which was later involved in a collision on the A371 on 4 November 2020.

For that offence he was given nine months in prison to run consecutively, giving a total sentence of seven years and five months.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionJenny Sell's parents said she was a "beautiful person inside and out"

In a statement, Ms Sell's parents, Colin Sell and Janice Gibbons, said their daughter was a "special girl who had everything to live for".

"To say that our lives have been devastated is a huge understatement.

"She was a beautiful person inside and out and there is not a single minute of every day that she is not thought of by us, her family and friends."

Collision investigation officer Dai Nicholas said: "This was a tragic and completely avoidable incident in which a young woman sadly lost her life.

"I hope this case serves as a reminder to anyone who might think about getting behind the wheel of vehicle after drinking alcohol of the awful consequences their decision could have."

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