‘Drunkest driver police had ever seen’ given prison sentence for killing Lancaster student
‘Her bright future was taken out in a few seconds because of someone who did not think or did not care’
A drunk driver, described by the arresting police officer as “the drunkest person I have ever seen behind the wheel of a car” has been sentenced to eight years in prison for killing a Lancaster University student.
Malcolm Waite, who police approximate was more than 100 mg over the legal limit, was travelling at speed when he mounted the kerb killing 20-year-old Fenella Hawes and injuring a 16-year-old girl when the crash took place on 31st July.
Fenella, who was studying at Lancaster University, had been carrying flowers for her mum at the time she was hit by Waite in Stalham, Norfolk.
Waite appeared at Norwich Crown Court last Friday where he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, followed by a further seven-year driving ban.
The court heard how Waite had driven his Lexus RX SUV onto the pavement hitting the two girls before driving away. He only later stopped and was apprehended by police when he crashed into a road sign and shrubbery a mile later.
Fenella’s mother, Margaret, described Waite as someone “who did not think or did not care”.
“Every day I sob, when I wake up, throughout the day at random times with seemingly no reason and when I go to bed at night.
“I picture her walking along, so happy carrying sunflowers for me and then being hit by the car. I sob because I will never see Fenella again, I will never see her radiant smile or hear her laugh, I will never talk with her about her day or about her plans for the future, I will never help cheer her up when she is sad or gossip with her, I will never go on long walks with her again…I will never be able to sit with her in front of our fire…it will never be the same again.”
When officers attended the scene, they discovered Waite in the driver’s seat, “smelling strongly of alcohol, but refused to provide a breath test.” He was arrested and escorted to hospital . During interviews, Waite responded “no comment” to every question.
Police found that the vehicle was not faulty, and recorded that roughly four hours afterwards, he had 120 micrograms of alcohol in his breath. They approximate that this would have amounted to 158 micrograms whilst he was driving, more than 100 micrograms over the legal limit of 35.
Margaret described her daughter as being “so happy”.
“She was so lovely inside and out she was so alive and now she isn’t here, and never will be again. I never had a chance to say goodbye,” she said.
“I sob for the future that she doesn’t have because a drunken man chose to get into a car, knowing that this was a weapon that could kill someone, and indeed it did it killed my 20-year-old daughter.
Detective Inspector David McCormack, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, called the incident a “tragedy” that was “wholly avoidable”. He continued: “I implore anyone who thinks it is okay to have a drink and then drive, please remember the heart-breaking and devastating consequences of drink-driving so evident in this case. Waite’s decision to drink and drive has changed lives forever.”
Detective Inspector McCormack explained that the teenage girl accompanying Fenella, who suffered minor injuries, is “traumatised”, and “Waite will have to live the rest of his life in the knowledge he has taken the life of a remarkable young woman who had so much to offer and lots she wanted to achieve. He has caused so much pain to so many people.”
Featured image via Norfolk Constabulary