Drink-drive fatal crash policeman spared jail

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A police officer who was found guilty of drink-driving after a crash which left his friend dead has been spared a jail sentence.

Brendan Buggie, 39, was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday after being convicted of drink-driving.

He was cleared by a jury last month of causing Justyna Stanczak’s death by careless driving.

Buggie, who was suspended from Greater Manchester Police following the collision in December 2011, resigned from the force yesterday.

The former officer had drunk around six pints and was between one-and-a-half to two times over the legal limit when he ploughed his sports car into a parked van on the A56 in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, in appalling weather.

Miss Stanczak, 26, was in the front seat of Buggie’s Toyota Celica. The pair had recently started a relationship after Buggie split up with his girlfriend of three years.

The court heard that Buggie, who had six previous speeding offences, had not intended to drive but offered Miss Stanczak a lift back to her Bury home after his ex-girlfriend’s mother saw them returning to his house.

Judge Colin Burn described the decision taken by Buggie to drive that night as “catastrophic”adding: “You were, at the time, a serving police officer and that makes the decision even more incredible in many ways and certainly more reprehensible.”

The judge suspended Buggie’s four-month jail sentence for 18 months. He also ordered him to attend a 14-week drink-impaired drivers programme and made an 18-month supervision order.

Buggie was disqualified from driving for 18 months and made a 30-day curfew order.

The trial last month heard that Buggie had spent the afternoon drinking and met Miss Stanczak after her shift at a bar on a freezing night.

He offered her a lift home fearing that his ex-girlfriend might turn up at his house.

Expert witnesses told the jury the road was extremely icy and the conditions treacherous.

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