Judge explains sentencing of drink driver who killed Peterborough mum in horror crash

The judge sentencing killer drink driver Adam White said he was limited by the law as to what sentence he could impose.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 5:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 5:59 pm
Adam White

While Adam White admitted one count of causing death by dangerous driving, and three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Judge Matthew Lowe said the law meant the maximum sentence he could impose was one of 14 years.

He said that when multiple deaths or injuries are caused by a single piece of bad driving, the court of appeal ruled that the sentence could only be the maximum for one count of causing death by dangerous driving.

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He said in the case of White, he would take the causing death by dangerous driving case as the 'lead offence,' with the other three offences being used as 'aggravating features.'

The court was told the prosecution and defence agreed that the case was a Level One offence - the most serious of its type, meaning a sentencing range of between seven and 14 years, with a starting point of eight years.

However, Marti Blair, prosecuting, said there were a number of aggravating features in the case, which would move it up the sentencing range.

She said White's previous convictions for drink driving, and other driving offences, the fact he was significantly over the drink drive limit, he had no insurance at the time of the incident, three people - including two children - had suffered serious injuries, and that he had been warned about his driving in the moments before the crash, as other motorists flashed their lights and swerved out the way to avoid him.

Will Martin, defending, said mitigating features included White's guilty plea, remorse, and the fact that White himself had suffered serious injuries.

But Judge Lowe said the only mitigation was his guilty plea, which he had to take into account while sentencing, saying he would give credit of just under the maximum one third.

Before he announced the jail term, he told the packed court that o sentence or comments he made was meant to put a value on Katy Cunningham's life -he said her life was 'precious and priceless.'

Judge Lowe said if White had been found guilty after trial, he would have been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment - but the guilty plea meant he could reduce that to nine years.

He also imposed sentences of 33 months for the two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving relating to the children, and two years for the third count of causing serious injury, relating to Mrs Almey, all to be served concurrently.

He was given a 10 year driving ban, with an extension of four and a half years - which means the 10 year ban will start when he is due for release from prison on licence. White will also have to take an extended driving test before he is allowed his licence back.

Speaking after the case, Sergeant Mark Dollard, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “It is beyond belief that in 2020 we still have to talk about the dangers of drink driving – doing so truly shatters lives and this heartbreaking case is the most recent example of that.

“White has never explained why he drove the way he did on that day, but I welcome his guilty plea and the sentencing passed today.

“I would like to thank Ms Cunningham’s family for their co-operation during this investigation as well as the other driver who was seriously injured - and all the witnesses who came forward to assist us.

“This case should serve as a stark warning to others about the consequences of driving dangerously or getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.”