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Drink driver who fled the scene of a fatal collision in Southampton is jailed

News   •   Aug 01, 2018 12:20 BST

A driver who killed a cyclist and fled the scene in a bid to cover up the fact he had been drinking has been jailed.

Samuel Woolley, 27, of Rockram Close, Bartley, pleaded guilty to causing death by due care whilst over the prescribed limit and driving a vehicle which failed to stop after a road accident at Southampton Crown Court.

The court was told how Woolley was driving his Ford Focus along Brownhill Way, Southampton, on December 22, 2017, when he collided with a cyclist, at around midnight.

The cyclist, 32-year-old Richard Gardner, died later that day in hospital.

When officers arrived at the scene Woolley had fled in his car, the prosecution telling the court that this was because he knew he was over the drink-drive limit.

Woolley came to the attention of officers when his father contacted them.

The court was told that he went to the scene after his son told him he had been in an accident and when he saw the severity of what he was confronted with, he told officers where his son was.

He was arrested at 3.40am by officers on suspicion of impairment.

The court heard how it was the extensive investigations by the Serious Collision Investigation Team that proved Woolley had been drink-driving.

They examined Woolley’s phone which revealed that he had been in three pubs prior to the incident.

Officers visited the three pubs identified by his phone and retrieved CCTV from each one.

This showed Woolley drinking several drinks in the eight hours leading up to the collision.

The CCTV images above are just some of those collected by the investigation team and shows him arriving at the Old Farmhouse pub at 2.50pm, drinking a pint just before 7pm and a Jagerbomb just after 10pm.

The court heard how they were able to draw up a timeline, showing that between 2.50pm and 11.19pm, Woolley had drunk at least six pints of beer and one shot of Jägermeister.

The collision happened half an hour after he left the Old Farmhouse pub, Ringwood Road, Totton.

Despite not having toxicology tests to prove he was over the drink-drive limit, the evidence gathered by the investigation team was enough to charge Woolley.

An expert was also able to use a breath sample taken from Woolley nearly five hours after the collision to provide a back calculation that showed he would have been over the drink-drive limit at the time of the incident.

Today he was sentenced to a total of five years and four months in prison and disqualified from driving for six years and eight months, with an extended re-test.

PC Lucy Hawkins, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Woolley fled the scene that night leaving Mr Gardner fatally injured by the roadside.

“At that moment all he was worried about was himself and how he could avoid being caught drunk behind the wheel.

“However, what he didn’t bank on was that we would carry out a full and thorough investigation that would clearly prove his drink-driving was the cause of this tragic collision.

“The CCTV clearly shows him drinking several different drinks, which would have put him significantly over the drink-drive limit.

“While our alcohol tests play a significant role in prosecuting drink-drivers, they are not the only way we can prove a motorist is over the limit and this case proves that.

“I hope that this case sends a clear message that we will take all action necessary to ensure that drink-drivers face justice, no matter what attempts they make to avoid it.

“Mr Gardner would still be alive today if Woolley had not made the reckless decision to drink and drive that night. It is never worth the risk – the consequences can be fatal.

“Our thoughts are with Mr Gardner’s loved ones.”