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Drink-driver Harrison Stokley jailed for causing death of Ronald Scannell on A120 at Great Bromley

PUBLISHED: 18:06 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 20:46 12 October 2017

The hearing was held at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The hearing was held at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An Essex family have spoken in court of their grief and devastation as a drink-driver who took the life of a 72-year-old man was put behind bars.

Harrison Stokley, 25, of Goldhanger Road, Maldon, was sentenced to four years and four months imprisonment after admitting to causing the death of Ronald Scannell by dangerous driving and seriously injuring Mr Scannell’s wife, Linda, by dangerous driving.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Mrs Scannell sustained a broken arm, broken wrist, six broken ribs and a tear to the liver as a result of the collision, which happened on the A120 at Great Bromley on August 7 last year at around 1.30am.

Stokley, who worked as a carer, had ended up on the wrong side of the dual carriageway in his Skoda Octavia when he collided head-on with Mr Scannell’s Ford C-Max. The couple had been at a party to celebrate Mrs Scannell’s brother’s golden wedding anniversary.

Stokley was also returning home from a party and was following directions on his sat nav, but missed a turning and his vehicle was then on the wrong side of the road.

The court heard Stokley was found to have 92 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit is 80 - three hours and fifteen minutes after the crash.

In a statement read out in the court, Mrs Scannell said she and her husband, of Kirby Cross, had been married 52 years and had “done everything together”.

She added: “I feel like a different person since Ron’s death.

“I don’t want to feel bitter for the rest of my life but the driver of the other car has taken so much from me.”

The couple’s son, Tony Scannell, said his “world ended” when police knocked on his door to break the news.

He added: “The person who did this has taken my best friend away as well as my father.”

Their daughter, Nicola Scannell, said she “felt numb for weeks” after the collision.

“I feel totally detached from the events of that day,” she added. “It was like I was watching something on the TV as an outsider.”

Judge David Goodin told Stokley, who sobbed while hearing the words of the family, he would have to serve at least half his sentence in custody, and also disqualified him from driving for four years, two months.

Addressing Stokley, Judge Goodin said: “As devastating as the events of that night have undoubtedly been for you, life changing as they are, of course that is nothing like the devastation brought upon Ronald Scannell’s widow Linda, their children and others who love them.”

He added: “There are no words that a judge or anyone else can say to take away their grief, neither could any sentence of this court even begin to recompense them for or meet the terrible tragedy inflicted upon them by your driving and indeed by you.

“You at the age of 25 had led an entirely constructive life, highly thought of by many people who have written statements.

“You have not been without your own difficulties in your life, sometimes it has been a struggle for you to get where you have got to but you were working a worthwhile and noble capacity as a carer before you caused the death of Ronald Scannell - never of course your intention, that’s entirely understood, and the most serious injury to his widow Linda.”

Judge Goodin took into account Stokley’s previous good character and clean driving record, as well as his early guilty plea, when passing his sentence.

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