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Drink-driver who injured MP Helen Whately in crash on A252 near Chilham, jailed

A drink-driver who left MP Helen Whately with a broken ankle after colliding with her horsebox while on the wrong side of the road has been jailed.

Patrick Quigley, 20, also injured horses belonging to the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, in the crash last year on the A252, near Molash, but her two children and dog were unharmed.

MP Helen Whately praised paramedics for helping her after suffering a broken ankle in the crash near Chilham in September. Picture: Helen Whately
MP Helen Whately praised paramedics for helping her after suffering a broken ankle in the crash near Chilham in September. Picture: Helen Whately

Quigley drove a pick-up truck to Canterbury on the night of September 3, where he drank alcohol.

He then started his journey home the following morning at around 6.45am, and was seen driving erratically by another motorist near the city.

Around 15 minutes later, Quigley was travelling on the wrong side of the A252 in The Street, when he collided with Ms Whately’s horsebox.

The MP went to hospital with a broken ankle, while her horses were hurt too.

Quigley also attended hospital for treatment to his injuries, and a blood sample was taken.

MP Helen Whately was hurt in a crash on The A252 from Charing to Chilham
MP Helen Whately was hurt in a crash on The A252 from Charing to Chilham

Analysis estimated he had 132 milligrams per 100ml of alcohol in his blood, which exceeded the legal limit of 80mg in 100ml.

He was charged and pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving.

Quigley, of Silver Mines, Cooleen, Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland, was sentenced on July 4 to 16 months in prison.

He will also be disqualified from driving for three years upon his release from prison.

Investigating officer PC Daniel Goodman said: "Quigley’s decisions that night led to a serious collision which could have ended in tragedy, and it is by sheer luck that nobody was more seriously hurt.

Helen Whately is MP for Faversham and Mid Kent
Helen Whately is MP for Faversham and Mid Kent

"Drink-driving is reckless, ruins lives and puts innocent motorists and members of the public at risk of serious injury.

"Kent Police takes this criminality seriously and regularly carries out stop checks to ensure those behind the wheel are fit to be driving."

Last year Ms Whately spoke of the crash, saying: “You may have heard that I was in a nasty road accident early on the A252.

“I want to sincerely thank the emergency services who were so professional and incredibly kind to me and my daughters.

“It was only on Friday that visited the South East Coast Ambulance Service, and less than 48 hours later they were right there at our side.

“I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who came to help in the minutes after the accident. It made such a difference at a horrible time.

“The kindness of friends and strangers has been so moving and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Conservative MP Ms Whately was confirmed as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport yesterday.

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