Published: 16:00, 03 November 2017 |
Updated: 17:59, 05 November 2017
A lying drink-driver who wrecked the lives of a couple has been jailed for 15 months.
Car dealer Jeremy Mullins, 62, smashed into a Harley Davidson at a T-junction near Faulkner’s Lane near Harbledown – leaving the couple with life-changing injuries.
Motorcyclist Steve Hedges, 55, needed a partial leg amputation and wife Joanne, 54, may never bend one of her legs.
Mullins – who was convicted of causing the injuries by driving dangerously- had been drinking in a pub before the crash, but lied about it to police.
But officers downloaded messages from his mobile phone and discovered he had arranged to meet a friend in the nearby Coach and Horses pub.
He then told the jury he had downed only a couple of white wine spritzers, which he viewed as “soft” drinks.
He said: “I didn’t feel they had impaired my ability or left me incapable of driving. It was like drinking a soft drink.”
At his trial Mullins tried to claim the motorcycle was travelling with no lights, was overtaking or speeding.
But the judge, Recorder Anthony Clover, rejected all of them and banned him from driving for four years and seven months, saying he was sceptical of his claims.
The judge told him the fact he didn’t see the bike – which was driving at the correct speed and with its lights on – was partially due to the alcohol.
Mullins, of Albert Street in Whitstable, admitted drink-driving and driving the BMW without insurance, which he claimed was an oversight.
Prosecutor Anthony Prosser told Canterbury Crown Court that the accident happened at 2.30pm on November 28 last year as the BMW was turning right out of a T-junction near Harbledown.
“In doing so, he drove straight into the side of the motorcycle,” he said.
“As a result Mr Hedge’s left leg had to be amputated below the knee and Mrs Hedges’ left leg was shortened and may never properly bend again.”
The prosecutor added: “The Crown say that the motorcycle had its headlights on and must have been in plain view before the defendant pulled into its path.
“And we say the defendant had been drinking alcohol shortly before the collision.
"A motorist coming in the other direction said the defendant appeared to be trying to race out to get into the road ahead.”
Mr and Mrs Hedges, from Gravesend, had spent the day visiting Canterbury on their Harley Davidson and were returning when they were struck by the BMW.
Mr Prosser said an eyewitness later told police he had seen “the explosion and heard the impact”.
“We had dreams and had plans for the latter part of our lives together but now, due to someone else’s actions and choices, we have been given a life sentence of pain..." - Joanne Hedges
Mullins was breathalysed and the reading was 36 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath – just above the legal limit.
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Hedges told how before the crash the couple had enjoyed “a good life”.
“We both worked hard and were always thankful for the wonderful life and family that we had,” she wrote. “We enjoyed every minute of every day.
“Even after 39 years together we still looked forward to seeing each other at the end of every day.
“We had dreams and had plans for the latter part of our lives together but now, due to someone else’s actions and choices, we have been given a life sentence of pain.
“In a split second our world, and that of our family, changed forever.”
After the hearing, Mrs Hedges praised the Serious Collision Investigation Team, PC Simon Masterson, Claire Fullagar and PC Robin Youngs, for their support.
And she thanked a passing motorist, Curtis Brignell, who used his car as a shield to protect the badly injured couple from further harm as they lay on the ground.
“He was the first on the scene and he put his car in front of us to avoid us being hit by other traffic,” she said.
“We would also like to thank the people who came to our aid at the roadside, stayed with us, comforted us and administered first aid. Paramedics said that this had helped save Steve’s life.”
The judge also praised the police team for its “efficiency and attention to detail” in preparing the case.
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