Drink driver jailed for fatal road crash

A DRINK-driver has been jailed for three years and banned from driving for four years for killing his next-door neighbour in a tragic car crash.Adrian Mayhew, 37, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to causing the death of mother-of-two Joanne Bardell by careless driving under the influence of alcohol.

A DRINK-driver has been jailed for three years and banned from driving for four years for killing his next-door neighbour in a tragic car crash.

Adrian Mayhew, 37, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to causing the death of mother-of-two Joanne Bardell by careless driving under the influence of alcohol.

Mayhew was driving back to his home in Denham Close, Wivenhoe, when he crashed into the car of his neighbour, Mrs Bardell, who was travelling in the opposite direction in Colchester Road, Wivenhoe, at 5.45pm on September 23 last year.

Mrs Bardell, 31, died two hours after the accident at Colchester General Hospital. Mayhew broke his back in the accident but has made a full recovery.


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After yesterday's case, Joanne's mother, Sue McAuslane said: "The sentence doesn't make any difference. It won't bring Jo back. I only wanted one thing in the court room, I wanted him to look at me and tell me he was sorry and he didn't."

Her husband, Michael Bardell, said: "I have no feelings towards that man whatsoever. Joanne and I were both very anti-drink-drive. There is no excuse to be drinking in the middle of the day when you know you have to get into a car to drive home."

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There were no eye witnesses, but traffic accident experts investigating the accident determined Mayhew had been driving on the wrong side of the road, slightly above the speed limit at 35 miles per hour. Mrs Bardell, mother of Lewis, now five, and Morgen , two, was driving her Ford Fiesta at about 20 miles per hour.

Blood tests taken four hours after the crash revealed father-of-three Mayhew had 36% more alcohol in his blood than the drink-drive limit.

Four days before the crash, Mayhew had been put on anti-depressants by his doctor as he was suffering from depression following divorce papers coming through, said his counsel, Tom Payne.

On the day of the accident, he had a couple of drinks at home before going to Colchester to meet a friend and "open his heart" over further drinks.

Since the crash he has lost his job as assistant engineer at a building company and his matrimonial home.

"He's horrified by his actions, that was exacerbated still further by the fact he knew his victim and she was a friend to him," said Mr Payne.

In passing sentence, Judge Alisdair Darroch said he took account of Mayhew's early guilty plea, his genuine suffering since the crash, his serious injuries and the fact he was not driving excessively fast.

But, he added: "Through your criminal and irresponsible conduct you have killed a young woman and caused enormous suffering."

He sent Mayhew to prison for three years and disqualified him from driving for four years.

Senior investigating officer Inspector Simon Morgan said: "My heart goes out to Michael and the two boys at this time. Despite today's judgement, they will never have Joanne back.

"This crash was caused by Adrian Mayhew's disregard to the danger of drinking and driving and as a result a family have needlessly lost a loving mother.

"I hope this tragedy illustrates to all drivers the horrific consequences of drinking and driving. Essex Police will continue to deal with this serious offence in a robust manner as has been illustrated today."

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