Jail for drink driver who killed woman in horror crash while twice the limit

A drink driver who was twice the limit when he caused a fatal crash which killed a woman has been jailed.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 2:50 pm

Stephanie Rivers (33) died in the crash caused by Liam Mansfield on August 20 last year.

Today he was jailed for six years, after a court heard he was more than twice the drink drive limit at the time of the crash.

Cambridge Crown Court heard how Mansfield, 27, was driving his BMW on the A141 between Warboys and Chatteris at just after 10pm on 20 August last year when he decided to overtake the tractor.

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Stephanie Rivers

But as he performed the manoeuvre, he mounted the offside grass verge, lost control and collided head on with a Volkswagen Polo.

The Polo was pushed backwards onto its roof. The driver, Stephanie of Coronation Avenue, Warboys, died at the scene. Her passenger, wife Debbie Rivers, suffered serious injuries but was able to call 999.

Officers arrived and Mansfield failed a roadside breath test, providing a reading of 75 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath – more than double the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

An evidential sample of blood was taken later at the hospital and revealed 106 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood, again above the legal limit of 80 microgrammes.

Officers also discovered a small amount of cannabis in the glovebox of Mansfield’s car, while further checks revealed he was disqualified from driving.

Investigations concluded Mansfield had been drinking at a nearby pub in Pidley, just a few miles from the collision scene, before getting behind the wheel. He had been in regular contact with his girlfriend throughout the day and the pair had discussed splitting up.

Mansfield, of Bottels Road, Warboys, denied the offer of a lift from his girlfriend, who thought he may be drunk. He left the pub at 9.56pm and was caught on CCTV.

After this he called his girlfriend via a handsfree device in the car, and the call was still active at the time of the crash.

A post-mortem concluded Mrs Rivers died as a result of blunt force trauma from the collision.

In a tribute at the time, her mother Patricia Rivers and sister Tracy Leaper said: “Steph was a kind, caring, beautiful, animal-loving daughter, wife, sister and auntie. She will be forever loved and truly missed by all who were lucky enough to have known her.”

A forensic collision investigation revealed Mansfield’s phone use and level of intoxication were significant factors in causing the fatal crash.

In interview, he told police he remembered being in the pub but didn’t remember anything else other than waking up in hospital.

He claimed he couldn’t remember drinking “that much” and admitted he could have got a lift home from family members.

Mansfield accepted his actions were dangerous and fell a long way below the standard of a competent and careful driver.

He admitted the cannabis was his, that he was a regular user and that he didn’t believe he was disqualified as his driving licence had been returned to him.

Mansfield later admitted causing death by dangerous driving, driving while uninsured and possessing a class B drug.

He was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court today (3 September) where he was handed six years in prison and disqualified from driving for eight years.

Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This is another heartbreaking case which beggars belief. Mrs Rivers would still be alive had Mansfield not decided to get behind the wheel after drinking and perform the overtake that he did.

“His driving was simply not good enough; he knew he had consumed alcohol but selfishly had no regard for the safety of others.

“Drink driving is illegal, dangerous and truly ruins lives. People can help us make the roads of Cambridgeshire safer for everyone by confidentially reporting others they suspect of driving while under the influence.”

The force operates a dedicated, confidential hotline for members of the public to report drink or drug driving. The hotline: 0800 032 0845 is available 24/7, and gives people the chance to supply the police with information to help reduce the number of drink or drug drivers on the county’s roads.

For more information about drink or drug driving, the law and the dangers it can cause, as well as the confidential hotline, visit the force’s dedicated web page: https://bit.ly/38DKIe9