A 24-year-old man has been jailed for two years for killing his girlfriend after he crashed while drink-driving, apparently distracted when she gave him “a kiss”.
Self-employed plumber Benjamin Hughes had been drinking beer and shots with his girlfriend Dominique Wright, who was studying for her masters degree at the University of Leeds, before driving home.
Hughes strayed off the road and into a ditch before crashing into a tree about halfway through the journey on 30 October 2016. Upon his arrest, he was found to have 141mcg alcohol per 100ml blood, almost twice the legal limit.
Ms Wright’s family made an emotional plea to Nottingham Crown Court, asking that he be spared jail as he was like a “son” to them.
In defence of Hughes, Martin Elwick said he had made a “fateful, tragic decision” to drive that day, losing someone he “loved dearly” as a result.
He went on to explain that the family hoped he would be shown leniency as he was an “integral part of the grieving process”.
On sentencing, however, Judge John Burgess told Hughes that while he may have “never intended” to cause harm to Ms Wright, his decision that day led to her suffering “fatal injuries”.
While Judge Burgess acknowledged the pleas of the family, he added that the courts needed to remind the public of the “terrible consequences of drink-driving“.
“We have to take account of the broader picture. Just as our sentences cannot be entirely determined by the views of people seeking maximum sentences, neither can they be entirely determined by pleas for mercy,” he said.
“My job is to look at the whole picture and try to pass a sentence that reflects not only the wrong you have done but also the harm you have caused.”
In addition to the two-year sentence, Hughes was also banned from driving for four years.
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