Drink-driver who caused death on A605 jailed after ‘worst case of bad driving’ judge has seen

Paul Nichols
Paul Nichols
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A drink-driver who caused the death of a man on the A605 has been jailed for more than nine years after the “worst case of bad driving” seen by a judge in 10 years on the bench.

Paul Nichols was seen throwing a beer can out of his car before fatally colliding with Paul Cooper (51) at Elton on June 25 last year while at least three times the legal limit.

Nichols was driving a white Suzuki Vitara when he attempted to overtake a black Peugeot 208, colliding into the side of it before flipping his vehicle into the path of a white Peugeot Partner.

Mr Cooper (51) of Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, was driving the Peugeot Partner and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Peugeot 208, a 38-year-old man and his four passengers aged 27, seven, five and two, were all slightly injured. Nichols was taken to hospital for treatment for a number of fractures and a pulmonary embolism.

Sentencing yesterday at Peterborough Crown Court, Judge Sean Enright said Cooper was a good man who was “liked and respected.”

He told Nichols, who was appearing via video link: “This was not a case of a single bad manoeuvre. You knew how badly you were driving. You were at least three times over the limit - you must have known that.

“You drove in a way that was aggressive - it was intimidatory at times and intended to be so to others on the road. It showed a complete and calculated disregard for the lives of others.

“The manner of your driving made the death or serious injury to someone inevitable and it seems to me you must have known that.

“It’s the worst case of bad driving I have seen in my 10 years on the bench.

Judge Enright added that was “not impressed by suggestions of remorse” and he criticised Nichols for obstructing attempts to discover how much alcohol he had in his system.

The first call about Nichols’ shocking driving came at 4.36pm, an hour before the collision. He was seen swerving and forcing drivers in the opposite direction to take evasive action.

One witness said Nichols overtook then slammed on the brakes in front of her, and just before the crash Nichols had crossed onto the wrong side of the road just before the brow of a hill and was blind to traffic coming in the opposite direction.

Collision investigator PC James Thorne said: “Nichols took the life of a perfectly innocent man going about his lawful business because of his selfish and deplorable attitude.

“I would urge people to report others who they may suspect of drink driving.”

Nichols was jailed for nine years six months, disqualified from driving for 15 years and had his licence endorsed.