Drink-driver admits causing death of Suffolk woman in crash

Jennifer Baker died following a collision in Barham on Friday, October 23 2020

Jennifer Baker died following a collision in Barham on Friday, October 23, 2020 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

A drink-driver who was involved in a fatal collision in which a 32-year-old Claydon woman died has been warned he is facing a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced next month.

Jennifer Baker, who was driving a Volkswagen Polo, died at the scene of the accident in Norwich Road, Barham, on October 23, 2020, following a collision with a Seat Altea driven by 43-year-old Robert Lowe.

On Tuesday (April 19) Lowe, of Peregrine Close, Clacton-on-Sea, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to causing Ms Baker’s death by careless driving while he was twice the drink-drive limit.

Adjourning sentence until May 20, Judge Emma Peters remanded Lowe In custody and warned him to expect an immediate prison sentence of “some length”.

Following Ms Baker’s death, her family described her as a “kind, intelligent, strong and beautiful woman” in a poignant tribute.

Jennifer Baker died following a collision in Barham on Friday, October 23 2020

Jennifer Baker died following a collision in Barham on Friday, October 23, 2020 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

A statement released by the family said: “Jennifer Elizabeth Baker, much loved and respected daughter of Maria and Andrew, was suddenly taken from us on October 23.

“She was a caring and unfailingly supportive sister to Lucy, George and her twin, Catherine. Jen and her three siblings had a very happy childhood together, growing up on the farm, and remained very close into adulthood.

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“Jen was a beloved granddaughter and loving auntie, who enjoyed cuddles with her niece and nephew.

“Jen had settled down close to home and was devoted to her partner. They had found happiness together and had many plans for their future. Jen loved walking their two dogs, Polly and Floss, in the Suffolk countryside.

“Jen was so very special to so many, immensely thoughtful, level-headed and always seeming to know the right thing to say. It is utterly impossible to describe how much she meant to us nor the scale of our loss.

“Her family are all so proud of her, of the kind, intelligent, strong and beautiful woman she had become, and will miss her beyond measure.”

David McGowan, of Woodward Markwell in Ipswich, where Ms Baker worked said: “It is a massive understatement to say that everyone at Woodward Markwell is devastated and heartbroken with the loss of Jennifer Baker. We are extremely fortunate to have worked with Jennifer over the last 15 years. Jennifer worked with us straight from school and rose through the ranks to be one of the management team and an integral part of the business.

“The pain is deep because she was such a nice person and would go far out of her way to assist anyone. Her loss has not only deeply affected staff and ex-staff but our clients and insurance partners who are also heartbroken.

“We are not sure how we will cope with the loss of Jennifer, we don’t think we ever will.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Nicholas Bleaney, for Lowe, said his client felt considerable remorse for what he’d done and was devastated by his responsibility for what happened.

He said that since the collision Lowe had withdrawn from the world. “He is a shell. He is just existing,” said Mr Bleaney.

He said the collision was caused by “momentary inattention fuelled by the alcohol in his system".

Mr Bleaney accepted that an aggravating feature of the case was Lowe’s 2015 conviction for drink-driving.