South Lopham drink driver sentenced over death

A twice-convicted drink driver was sent to prison for eight years today (Friday) for killing a woman who was visiting Norfolk to celebrate a friend's wedding.

It was the third time this week that a drink or drug-drive death has come before Norwich courts – and it led Judge Jacobs, the Recorder of Norwich, to lament that motorists were ignoring drink-drive warnings.

He said: 'One wonders 'how many more times?'. It seems as though we will be confronted with these incidents as long as I sit. People like this defendant will not listen.'

Judge Jacobs told driver Amanda Brierley, who had two previous convictions for drink-driving, that she had given a life sentence to the friends and family of the victim, Claire McKeown.

Norwich Crown Court was told that unemployed Brierley, 47, drank two bottles of wine on July 1 before getting into her silver BMW at the White Hart Pub, Roydon, near Diss, to drive two miles home on The Street, South Lopham.

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As she drove off she almost knocked a pub worker off his bicycle, according to one account the court heard.

With dusk falling she forgot to turn on her lights and almost hit a black Fiat Panda driving in the opposite direction.

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Then a kilometre into her journey, with her lights now on, Brierley drove into the back of a Skoda Fabia which had stopped on the straight road to turn into Blue Pump Farm at 9.45pm.

In the car, waiting for a gap in the traffic, were four young people from Liverpool.

Jessica Trigg and James Monroe, were in the back, while Simon McKeown was driving with his wife, Claire, next to him.

A police report said there was plenty of time and distance for Brierley to stop and witnesses said it was a fine summer evening.

The next day Mrs McKeown, a rising star in Liverpool's creative arts scene, died from her injuries at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Judge Jacobs slammed Brierley's 'truly disgraceful' behaviour after the crash.

Ian James, mitigating, said his client did not want to make excuses but had not intended to hurt anybody.

Disqualifying Brierley from driving for eight years alongside the prison sentence, Judge Jacobs said: 'Nothing I can say or do can remedy this situation. Even if this woman was locked up for the rest of her life it would not bring back this delightful young lady.'

For more, read tomorrow's (Saturday) EDP.

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