Woodbridge: Judge, police, and injured girl’s mother blast jailed drink-driver

A JUDGE lambasted the “gross and deplorable recklessness” of a drink-driver whose car ploughed into a tree leaving a little girl with a fractured neck.

A breath test showed Joanna Cox, of Little Horsey Park, Campsea Ashe, near Woodbridge, was nearly three times the drink-drive limit following the accident which occurred at around 4.30am on December 22.

Seven-year-old Angel Walker needed surgery for life-changing injuries, South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard.

Having read references describing Cox as devoted to her family and being a responsible person, District Judge David Cooper said: “On this occasion you showed gross and deplorable recklessness.

“By your recklessness you have caused catastrophic consequences for Angel.”

After Cox was jailed for three months, she clasped her hand to her mouth and began to cry as she waited to be led to the cells.

Following the hearing Pc Paul Fletcher said: “Catastrophically Miss Cox thought it was safe to drive. However, in this case it has had a knock-on effect, not only for Angel, but Cox’s own family members as well. Drink-driving really does wreck lives.”

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Angel’s mother Sarah Palmer said in a victim impact statement: “This accident has caused great strain and pressure on our family dealing with the life-changing effects for Angel.

“Since Angel has left the hospital, she has needed constant home care, she can’t dress herself at present as she has a metal frame supporting her neck which she still has on now.

“Last Christmas was a disaster, when it should have been a fun time for all the family to enjoy.

“I can’t forgive at present and I wouldn’t expect any other parent to do so with what Sam (Angel’s father) and I are going through.

“Since that night, we both haven’t been able to give Angel a big hug, because she has carried that frame to support her neck.

“Hopefully, in a few weeks when the support is removed after three months, we will all be able to give her a big hug that she has been waiting for.”

Cox’s VW Golf left the road, before hitting a bank and a tree at The Street in Eyke, near Woodbridge.

A breath test found 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of Cox’s breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Sue Threadkell, representing Cox, said her client disputed the high breath test reading due to her consuming alcohol after the crash.

Cox admitted drink-driving, careless driving, having a defective tyre, and possession of cannabis. She was also disqualified from driving for two years.