A TIRED young woman was warned not to drive before causing a horror road crash which killed her boyfriend.
Carlisle Crown Court heard any sleep Hannah Bowman had prior to starting a fateful journey from Whitehaven to Penrith, early on May 30 last year, had been “minimal”.
Bowman, 21, had spent the previous night socialising with her 20-year-old partner Jordan Wilson and his sister, Lauren.
Miss Wilson later warned Bowman not to drive, saying it would be “stupid and dangerous”. But Bowman set out in a Suzuki Swift with her boyfriend as passenger. And, near Threlkeld just after 6am, the Suzuki – previously seen swerving – veered across the road before colliding head-on with an oncoming flatbed HGV.
Talented musician Mr Wilson suffered catastrophic injuries and died in hospital on June 1. Bowman, who suffered serious injuries, was seen drinking the night before but provided a “nil” alcohol breath test after the crash.
Prosecutor Francis McEntee said: “Ultimately the net cause for the sad loss of Mr Wilson’s life in this case was the decision of this defendant, against the clear advice given that she should not have set out that morning having had no rest and, albeit clearly not over the limit, one would anticipate jaded by the effects of the night before.”
In a statement, Mr Wilson’s grieving mother, Lynne, wrote of Bowman: “My family and and I have to live with the consequences of her actions for the rest of our lives.”
His aunt, Jill Spence, told the court: “Jordan’s death has shattered us.” She added: “For this action that day, he paid the greatest price and the family has been destroyed.”
David Wales, defending, gave mitigation for Bowman, of Vicarage Terrace, Nenthead, who admitted causing death by dangerous driving.
“She has asked me to express to the court and to Jordan’s family her deep sense of sorrow; her deep sense of regret,” said Mr Wales.
Bowman recalled neither the crash nor the conversation with Miss Wilson. She said she had some sleep but “does not recall how much”, and felt distress shown by Mr Wilson that night was alleviated only by her decision to drive. “She believed she was fit,” said Mr Wales. “She has been left with the shame and the feeling of responsibility of what happened.”
Judge James Adkin told Bowman: “You must have fallen asleep at the wheel.”
He added: “You say you had rested a little that night, but it is clear you had not had anything like sufficient sleep to undertake the journey you did.”
Bowman was jailed for 27 months, and must serve a two-year driving ban when released.